Many individuals struggle to reach their full health potential. In the United States, many local, regional, state, and national policy initiatives are designed to help mitigate those disparities and eliminate unequal health outcomes. It is important to stay aware of these initiatives so you can put them to use to create better health outcomes for the populations that you engage. The “social determinants of health” approach complements a focus on individual biology of disease with attention to social and economic factors, social support networks, physical and social environments, access to health services, and social and health policies. Engaged nurses have the power to identify social determinants and address them by implementing effective policies to help patients reach their highest attainable standard of health. Keeping this in mind, prepare a 1- to 2-page paper that addresses health disparities in a vulnerable population. Use the following as a guide for your paper:
- Identify a health gap for a vulnerable population (young, old, homeless, LGBTQ, a specific ethnic/cultural group, etc.) in your local community by consulting local, regional, state, or national data.
- The following website can be helpful in locating and selecting data if you choose a community in the U.S.: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (n.d). Sources for data on social determinant of health. https://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/data/index.htm
- List the characteristics of your selected population using multiple sources of data as support. For example, a community’s health is determined by several influences other than the quality of healthcare. Health disparities are differences in health or health-related outcomes associated with socioeconomic or environmental disadvantage. These disadvantages may be due to economics, education, healthcare access, or health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities, age (both old and young), mental disabilities, or substance use disorders.
- Identify two social determinants that impact your identified community and explain how those determinants contribute to the health gap.
- Identify and describe a policy strategy that has focused on the health gap for your selected vulnerable population in your community.
Nurses strive to support senior patients’ health as they transition from the hospital to their homes. However, hospital-based nurses are frequently more adept at caring for patients in safe and predictable hospital environments and may find it challenging to anticipate the relevant socioeconomic issues patients face when they go home, like access to healthcare, public safety, social support, etc. The case study presented in the Case Study Assessment puts you in the shoes of a nurse who must make important decisions about how to discharge an elderly patient. Read the case study and respond to the questions that follow on the template. Your responses should be about one page in length.