Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Bruce Goodrow, Robert Baum, David Dunn, Glenn Lohr

Degree Program

Department of Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science


In recent years, many dramatic changes have occurred in the nation's health care delivery system, particularly in health education. The National Consumer Health Information and Promotion Act was enacted in 1976. In response to this legislation, the nation's health education efforts were greatly expanded through the creation of a Bureau of Health Education within the Center for Disease Control and establishment of the Office of Health Information and Promotion in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health, Education and Welfare. A National Center for Health Education was also established. Health education was prominently included among the ten national health priorities outlined in the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974. Concurrent to these developments have been intensified demands among health organizations and the public for an expanded health education component of the health care delivery system. Health education of the hospital patient (or hospital patient education) is a significant aspect of the broader area of health education. This thesis examines the relationship between some of the national health education developments and the patient education responsibilities of small hospitals. Issues inherent in these responsibilities are identified and analyzed in an attempt to develop a philosophy (or concept) of the extent to which small hospitals should provide patient education.

For purposes of this study, small hospitals are defined as general, acute-care hospitals of the 100-bed and less category. To facilitate understanding of how patient education hospitals has reached its present position, a brief history of hospital patient education is presented. This history leads to an overview of current hospital patient education activities and the identification of issues and trends in this area relative to the small hospital. This thesis examines some of the current questions raised on the appropriate role of the small hospital in meeting the health education needs of its patients. Specific aspects of hospital patient education are also discussed; for example: philosophies, planning, coordination, methodologies, financing, materials, cost effectiveness, and evaluation.

After discussing the above-mentioned issues, this thesis concludes with the presentation of a concept of patient education in the small hospital and some recommendations relating to the small hospitals' patient education activities. The concept presented was based on the conclusion that the philosophical and humanitarian tenets upon which small hospitals provide service demand the provision of maximal patient education which is integrated into routine patient care regimens.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion