Community involvement in health (CIH) as a conceptual base for gerontological health-care research

  • Eugenie Hildebrandt The University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing


Community involvement in health (CIH) is a conceptual base for effective primary health care that involves every level of a community. CIH empowers people by facilitating the sharing of information and control, and thereby giving individuals, families and groups that make up a community, the ability and encouragement to be active, effective participants in managing their health. Elderly people are an integral part of a community: it is functional to view their needs and capacities within the context of the larger group. This article is based on research that used the perspectives of self-care and CIH to assess and implement solutions to problems identified by elderly residents of a black township. CIH is a flexible process that can make major contributions to care delivery and the health of people by creating a partnership between the health-care professional and the community. The process develops over time as people increase their ability to manage factors that affect their health. This study indicates that considerable time, effort and resources are needed to help the people of a community to become effectively involved in the improvement of their health status.


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