Vulnerable Population: The Poor “A vulnerable population is a group or groups that are more likely to develop health- related problems, have more difficulty accessing health care to address those health problems, and are more likely to experience a poor outcome or shorter life p because of those health conditions. ” (Maurer & Smith,2009, pp. 533) Poverty is linked with marked deprivation of well-being of an individual due to inability to meet basic needs.
It could be due to lack of income or resources to buy goods and services or inability to access them. Thus poor people in the population are considered vulnerable as socioeconomic status is closely linked to a person’s health status. People who are poor or belong to low income group have difficulty in providing basic necessities of life e. g. food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and their families. They lack resources and opportunities to improve their quality of life. Their behavior and choices are determined by their socioeconomic status.
In United States poverty is determined by comparing annual income to threshold which is set of dollar value that vary by family size, number of children and age of householders. If a family’s income is below their threshold that family is considered to be in poverty including all members. (Bishaw, & Macartney, 2010) According to the United States Census Bureau in the year 2011 the poverty rate was 15% indicating 46. 2 million people in poverty range. People living in poverty tend to live in certain neighborhoods rather than evenly distributing in different neighborhoods.
This increases burden on families beyond their circumstances because disadvantageous neighborhood brings more problems in their lives. Resources in these areas are scarce as the area becomes disadvantageous banks, stores; shopping places or new business doesn’t go in these areas because they don’t see any profit. There is lack of good public schools, housing and sanitation are inadequate, access to health is non-existent and employment opportunities are limited. These people don’t have access to healthy food as it is expensive compare to unhealthy food which cost less and feed more people.
They have more fast food places and liquor stores in their areas. There is no place or a safe place for physical activity and recreation as a result people stay at home this limits there physical activity as well as social interaction. The crime rate in such areas is high therefore residents face constant threat to their lives. Youth and adults do not have any positive outlet or recreation available and they adapt behavior as smoking, drinking alcohol and use of drugs.
It was also shown in PBS videos that across the country polluting industries are found in communities where population is poor or belong to minority causing pollution and other health problems. Population living below poverty line usually doesn’t have health insurance. Even if they are employed they either do not get insurance from employer owing to small business or if they get insurance they do not enroll to save cost of monthly premium. For them basic needs are priority while health is secondary. Because of the cost they have to choose between needs and health.
They usually delay seeking care or avoid going to health care altogether making them sicker. As a result they end up using acute care services e. g. emergency department and have poor health outcomes. In PBS video it was highlighted lack of health care is not the cause of their illness but chronic constant stress in their daily lives exposes them to risk of chronic diseases. High level of stress hormones over time increases arterial plaque raises blood pressure and weakens immune system. This can result in heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.
There are certain initiatives by government to address these issues the first example is providing food stamps to the families who doesn’t have any source of income. In PBS video it was shown the amount sometime is not adequate enough to fulfill need of the family where a woman has 200 dollars for the month to feed four people. Second example is providing reduce price meals or free meals to school children whose family fall under poverty level. Finally PPACA has increase access to health care by ensuring health insurance for all but does it solve the problem? The poor population will be oing back to same stressful environment after treatment so they might become frequent visitor of healthcare facility with ongoing health issues increasing frustration in HCP as they will not see any improvement. I would like to conclude by saying to improve health status and life expectancy of this vulnerable population social reforms are essential to provide opportunity to improve quality of life along with improve access to health care. References Bishaw, A. United States census Bureau, (2011). Areas with concentrated poverty: 2006–2010 American community survey briefs (ACSBR/10-17).
Retrieved from website: http://www. census. gov/prod/2011pubs/acsbr10-17. pdf Bishaw, A. , & Macartney, S. United States census Bureau, (2010). Poverty: 2008 and 2009 American community survey briefs (ACSBR/09-1). Retrieved from website: http://www. census. gov/prod/2010pubs/acsbr09-1. pdf Documentary series: Unnatural causes [Web]. (2008). Retrieved from http://www. unnaturalcauses. org/video_clips. php Maurer, F. , & Smith, C. (2009). Community/ public health nursing practice: health for families and population. (Fourth ed. , Chapter 21). Saunders.
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