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Compare vulnerable populations NRS 428
Compare vulnerable populations NRS 428
Compare vulnerable populations. Describe an example of one of these groups in the United States or from another country. Explain why the population is designated as “vulnerable.” Include the number of individuals belonging to this group and the specific challenges or issues involved. Discuss why these populations are unable to advocate for themselves, the ethical issues that must be considered when working with these groups, and how nursing advocacy would be beneficial.
The United States puts much effort in trying to eliminate or reduce health care disparities. However, vulnerable people continue to experience problems in access to health care, and they have high cases of mortality and morbidity. For instance, those who live in poverty are more likely to be in poor or fair health and have disabling conditions. The vulnerable populations include those that are economically disadvantaged, ethnic and racial minorities, low-income children, the uninsured, and the homeless (Falkner, 2018). The vulnerability of these populations is enhanced by ethnicity, race, age, gender, and factors such as insurance coverage, income and lack of natural source of care (Falkner, 2018). Their health and health care issues interconnect with the societal factors including poverty, housing, and insufficient education.
An example of a vulnerable population in the US is the impoverished. This group “consists of those who cannot financially provide the basic necessities of life” (Falkner, 2018), and may experience challenges in adopting and maintaining healthful behaviors. What makes this population vulnerable is that they have limited resources, and cannot afford healthy and affordable foods. Healthy foods are costly while refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally affordable and readily accessible to low-income populations. These foods that are affordable and readily available typically are the causes of multiple diseases. Besides this fact, this population may face high-stress levels and poor mental health.
The poverty rate in America is 12.7% of the population, meaning about 40.6 million people live in poverty (Falkner, 2018). This population often has a hard time advocating for themselves because they do not have the funds, energy, or motivation to do so. One of the ethical issues when handling this population is their lack of funds and basic necessities to live. As health care providers we should be assisting these individuals by helping them access health care and proper treatment, along with providing resources to basics such as food, water, and clothing (Falkner, 208). We are able to do this by involving case management and social work, if doing so in the health care setting (Falkner, 2018).
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Falkner, A. (2018). Community as clients. In Community and public health: The future of health care. https://lc.gcumedia.com/nrs427vn/community-and-public-health-the-future-of-health-care/v1.1/
Great post! Like you pointed out, one of the most vulnerable populations is low-income and homeless individuals. These individuals are more vulnerable because in many cases they do not have access to and are unable to afford basic needs to live. not having access to these basic needs puts them at a greater risk for developing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and long-term stress and behavioral health issues such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems. (Joszt, 2018) Living in poverty, these individuals do not have the resources to advocate for themselves. One of the main issues with individuals living in poverty is the lack of access to healthcare needs. Nurses need to advocate for these individuals. The nurse can put the patient in contact with a social worker within the patient’s local area. Social workers work to help the patient gain access to basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, and also social benefits including healthcare. (Miller, 2021) This can help patients get the important resources they need so that they can lower the adverse health risks associated with poverty and improve and maintain good health.
Joszt, L. (2018, July 20). 5 vulnerable populations in healthcare. AJMC. Retrieved January 10, 2022, from
Miller, A. (2021). Social workers’ roles in helping the poor. Work – Chron.com. Retrieved January 10, 2022, from
- Judy Han
replied toShana Fogelman
Jan 16, 2022, 7:47 AM
- Replies to Shana Fogelman
There is a lot of evidence indicating the connection between high stress, low income or poverty, and the addictive properties of sugar when it comes to eating as a method of self-comfort (Spinosa et al., 2019). Hemingsson found that low socioeconomic status is connected to obesity due to psychological distress which “transfers from parents to children, thus creating a disharmonious family environment” (2014). This distress and environment can cause maladaptive eating behaviors which along with stress induced disturbances to metabolic signals can cause obesity and weight gain (Spinosa et al., 2019). As nurses, ways to target obesity related to low socioeconomic levels include collaborating with local entities to provide nutritious foods for low income families, aggressive education about nutrition, and educating people in the community about the link between stress, income, eating, and weight gain. Patients cannot or will not make lifestyle changes successfully if they do not understand the entire problem, and simply telling people that they should eat a nutritious diet does not help them understand why they continue to make unhealthy choices.
Hemmingsson, E. (2014). A new model of the role of psychological and emotional distress in promoting obesity: Conceptual review with implications for treatment and prevention. Obesity Reviews, 15(9), 769-779. doi: 10.1111/obr.12197
Spinosa, J., Christiansen, P., Dickson, J. M., Lorenzetti, V., & Hardman, C. A. (2019). From socioeconomic disadvantage to obesity: The mediating role of psychological distress and emotional eating. Obesity, 27(4), 559-564. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22402
Jan 13, 2022, 12:28 AM
Replies to Shana Fogelman
Vulnerable populations are groups of people that are susceptible to poor health, chronic illnesses, disability and early mortality. People falling in this group are the economically disadvantaged, elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, uninsured and underinsured, children of low income families, LGBTQ and gender nonconformity, people with HIV, people with severe mental and behavioral health disorders, the homeless, and refugees. (University of Miami 2021). The elderly are of particular interest among the vulnerable population. In the US, the elderly with age 65 and older numbered 54.1 million in 2019. They represented 16% of the population, more than 1 in every 7 Americans. (Department of Health and Human Services 2021). Physiological changes occur with aging in all organ systems leaving the elderly more susceptible to harm. The elderly have decreased strength, poor tolerance to physical activities and functional limitations due to degenerative changes such as osteoarthritis. Brain function decreases leading to mental health problems such as depression, dementia and Alzheimers, degeneration of sensory function leading to poor vision or blindness and hearing loss. Loss of cognitive and sensory function leads to dependence. The elderly also have complex health conditions such as renal failure, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes mellitus leaving them requiring constant healthcare.The elderly are also associated with life transitions such as retirement, relocation to more appropriate housing and death of friends and partners. (Pan American Health organizations 2021).
The older people are assumed to be frail, dependent and a burden to society which leads to discrimination, they may lack social support and may face isolation, are likely to be institutionalized in nursing homes and are less likely to reduce abuse which increases their vulnerability. It is therefore beneficial for the nurse to advocate for these patient groups. Advocacy begins with teaching family and caregivers the changes and challenges that the elderly encounter so that the caregiver is aware and better prepared to handle any challenges that may occur and may plan ahead of time to avoid ethical issues.It is important for the nurse or caregiver to learn and be aware of signs of abuse and these are to be reported immediately in order to protect the patient from the perpetrators. Common ethical issues include discrimination, personal privacy and informed consent where despite having challenges the elderly patient has procedures explained to them and they give consent, a discussion is held before time on what the patients wishes are regarding their care so that in the event they are unable to speak for themselves their documented wishes are still upheld through a living will and a power of attorney for healthcare and finance.( WHO 2021).
World Health Organization. 2021. Aging and health. www.who.int/aging-and-health
Pan American Health Organization. 2021. Older people and diseases. www.paho.org/older-people-and-diseases
University of Miami. 2021. School of Nursing and Health Studies. Vulnerable populations. www.sonhs.miami.edu/research/vulnerable-populations
US Department of health and human services.2021. The administrative community living. Profile of the older American. www.acl.gov/older-american