A need is anything that an organism needs to survive. Needs are much different than wants. In the case of a need, however, a lack of something causes an obvious negative outcome: a deficiency or premature death. For example, in the case of hunger, a person would experience a deficiency in food if hunger could not be felt.
Many people experience a need and do not know it. Often, their healthcare needs are underestimated. There are many cases where people who may be normal physically can feel very ill. It could be because of a pre-existing illness or because they are extremely overweight. Because they do not meet the definition of ‘nutritious foods’ (which the healthcare professionals lay out in detail in their professional bible) there is a need to take them into account when designing a health service plan for their specific case. This is called a nutritional need assessment.
In rare cases, there may be some form of constraint that prevents the patient from obtaining what they need. This can be a physical constraint like a physical disability or a social one like a low SES or HIV status. The patient may also have a particular health condition that needs to be addressed through specialised healthcare services. These services will be covered by the relevant legislation, though the process of getting the services will be subject to medical assessment.
If a person does not meet the definition of a need in terms of a particular health concern, they will probably have the ability to receive some form of basic healthcare. This is known as a critical need. While many of these are met through the provision of State and community health care systems, others may require specialised medical attention, such as a surgical procedure or hospitalisation.
Critical needs are usually the result of an underlying medical condition that has resulted in loss of the person’s ability to function normally in their daily life. This means that they may require surgery, physiotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and even a transplant if the situation is too severe for medicine to treat. These procedures will be covered by the relevant taxation measures. The amount of expenditure involved and the eligibility for the various services will depend on the taxpayer’s personal circumstances, their income, their marital status, their dependent children, their age and their health.
It is important to remember that while everyone has a need, no one needs exactly the same things. Some people may just require extra support to ensure their everyday living is maintained. Others may require surgery, a heart transplant or a lung transplant. There are exceptions to every need.