vulnerable population

Topics: Health care, Healthcare, Medicine Pages: 5 (1588 words) Published: June 23, 2014

Vulnerable populations

Despite efforts and goals in the United States to reduce or eliminate disparities in healthcare by 2010, significant disparities, including risk factors, access to healthcare, morbidity, and mortality, continues in vulnerable populations. For example, studies find that Americans living in poverty are much more likely to be in fair or poor health and have disabling conditions, and are less likely to have used many types of healthcare. I believe that more effort should be made to bring affordable healthcare to vulnerable population

Vulnerable populations are groups who are not well integrated into the healthcare system because of ethnic, cultural, economic, and geographic or health characteristics (WHO). This isolation puts members of these groups at risk for not obtaining necessary medical care, and thus constitutes a potential threat to their health. Commonly cited examples of vulnerable populations include racial and ethnic minorities, the rural and urban poor undocumented immigrants, and people with disabilities or multiple chronic conditions. The reasons for disparities are varied. For example, in access to health care, racial and ethnic minorities may lag behind non-Hispanic whites because patterns of residential segregation separate minorities from the supply of providers, because of language and cultural barriers between doctors and patients, or because of differences in employment patterns that lead to lower rates of employer-based insurance coverage for some groups. Vulnerability results from developmental problems, personal incapacities, disadvantaged social status, inadequacy of interpersonal networks and supports, degraded neighborhoods and environments, and the complex interactions of these factors over the life course. The priority given to varying vulnerabilities, or their neglect, reflects social values. Vulnerability may arise from individual, community, or larger population challenges and requires different types of policy interventions—from social and economic development of neighborhoods and communities, and educational and income policies, to individual medical interventions. In the past decade or two we have come to understand better that vulnerability is cumulative over the life course. Early-life difficulties and their adverse effects interact with later events in ways that increase the likelihood of poor adult outcomes. The welfare of adolescents, young adults, and the elderly depends greatly on trajectories of personal development, social and economic experiences of one’s family and community, and stressors that may be unique to various age groups or to communities at a particular time. Many businesses small or medium size do not offering health care insurance as a benefit to their employees or decide to decrease the cost. Other causes such an increase in premium for the employee with a convalescence economy has further complicated the possibility to take advantage of the benefit. Individuals may be vulnerable by virtue of their financial circumstances or geographic location. These factors can present obstacles to obtaining needed health care and can result in increased exposure to health risks. Those who disproportionately experience access problems include those whose income and/or health insurance status place them at increased risk for encountering barriers to accessing needed services and those who live in certain rural or inner-city areas that have a shortage of qualified health care professionals. The estimated 41.6 million Americans who have no health insurance most often face the greatest access barriers (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). These barriers to access can lead to a lack of continuity, delays in obtaining care, and limited choices about where and from whom care may be received (Newacheck et al., 2009; Lambert and Agger, 2009)....
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