Please write a paragraph with your opinion based on the text bellow. Please include citations and references in case you need to used for the question.
Vulnerable population is defined as ‘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 span because of those health conditions (Maurer, pg 528). Populations that may be more vulnerable to health risks include “the poor, the homeless, the disabled, the severely mentally ill, the very young, and the very old” (Maurer, pg 528). However, not all populations who are “at-risk” for certain health problems are considered vulnerable. Picture an elderly patient who is “at-risk” for falls due to loss of mobility and recent changes in medication regimen. If that patient lives in poverty and doesn’t have the money or health insurance to assist in proper medical care, such as an assisted living or nursing home, that patient will be more vulnerable to falling and is predisposed to further injuries, such as a broken hip.
As a long-term care employee of many years, I do believe that this population can be considered vulnerable in many situations. May of our elderly cannot and do not advocate for themselves for different reasons. Sometimes it is because they simply cannot understand their health care needs and disabilities. Many elderly patients that I have taken care of, had early to end stage Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Some patients couldn’t hear the conversations being had about their care and feel guilty for “bothering” the doctor or nurses to repeat themselves, so the patient can hear and interact. As a charge nurse in the nursing home, I would be involved in care conferences for each patient in the building. This gave me a chance to speak with the patient, their family, physicians, social services and all other services for their care. It was a time to bring up concerns to families and advocate for meal changes, medication changes and whatever else the patient needed to achieve their highest quality of life.
Some ethical issues I’ve ran into in the past are when a patient is still their own decision maker, but their family is trying to be more involved in their care and have different wishes than the patient. Many times, the patient would ask for more comfort measure-based care, whereas the family wanted full medical treatment for their loved one. This can be a very difficult situation for both parties and as the nurse, it was my job to work together with both parties while advocating for the patient and come to a common ground with everyone.
According to Healthy People 2020, in 2014 there were 46.3 million people who were 65 and older, by 2060 they project 98 million people to fall into this same category. Some of the common chronic conditions found in this population include: “Heart disease, cancer, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and Alzheimer’s disease (Healthypeople.gov). Many elderly people struggle with 2 or more of these chronic illnesses. Programs have been started to assist the elderly in paying for services to better manage their conditions, such as the Older Americans Act program.
Freances A. Maurer, C. M. (2013). Community/Public Health Nursing Practice: Health for Families and Populations(5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier.
Older Adults . (n.d.). Retrieved from HealthyPeople.gov: www.healthypeople.gov/2020