Case Synopsis

Lauren Kitsman trained as a health promoter and is now working for a hospital. She has been tasked with implementing a health promotion approach in her hospital and has tried to understand the health issues at the hospital and identified potential areas to inform health promotion action. She turned to the ‘health promoting hospitals (HPH) approach’ in order to bridge the gap between acute care and health promotion in the hospital setting. As she looked deeper into HPHs in Ontario, she discovered an advocacy network, the Ontario Health Promoting Hospitals Network (OHPHN). While the initiative had largely been unsuccessful in Ontario, Health Promoting Hospital Networks had been successful and continue to have momentum in Europe and around the world. There seemed to be success stories from other provinces (Quebec, in particular). Why is Ontario so different, and what could be done to overcome the barriers to make the work of this network successful? What can Lauren learn from international HPH efforts to apply in her local context? Lauren wants to make changes that are sustainable and in-line with HPH approaches but needs to remain true to the acute mandate of her hospital. She is unsure of next steps.

Case Objectives

  1. Analyze the challenges associated with implementing health promotion in a traditional acute care setting.
  2. Explore how to influence patient and health care culture.
  3. Develop effective communication strategies to enable a champion in fulfilling health promotion objectives in hospitals and clinical settings.
  4. Learn from the historical challenges of managing a health promoting network from multiple settings.

Case Study Questions

  1. In order to ensure the highest quality of health promotion amongst network members, the International Network developed five standards to be used to implement and assess health promoting hospitals and health services.
    a. How may the five standards be integrated into a clinical setting?
    b. Do the five standards still resonate in today’s healthcare climate?
  2. What are the goals of health promotion?
  3. What are the goals of (hospital-based) acute care?
  4. How might a hospital integrate health promotion into existing practice?


health promotion, organizational change, acute care, networks, hospitals, Ottawa Charter

Additional Author Information

Shannon L. Sibbald, PhD, Assistant Professor

J. Ross Graham, MSc, MPA, Manager, Strategic & Quality Initiatives, Community Services Department



Recommended Citation

Sibbald, S.L., Graham, J.R. (2018). Can Hospitals do Health Promotion? Making Hospitals a Place for both Care and Health through Health Promotion. in: McKinley, G. & Sibbald, S.L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2018. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.