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Vulnerable populations in Health Care - Assignment Example

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The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit: (1) to describe applicable variables related to vulnerability of chronically ill and disabled population; and (2) to analyze the effect of multiple variables on the chronically ill and disabled population in terms of…
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Vulnerable populations in Health Care
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Vulnerable Populations in Health Care The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit to describe applicable variables related to vulnerability of chronically ill and disabled population; and (2) to analyze the effect of multiple variables on the chronically ill and disabled population in terms of morbidity, mortality, and health.
Vulnerable Populations in Health Care
Vulnerable populations in U.S. composed of the disadvantaged, underprivileged, medically underserved, poverty stricken, distressed populations, and the underclasses (Shi & Stevens, 2010, 2). In health care, vulnerable populations refer to the populations who have the increased susceptibility to poor health, among of which include the chronically ill and disabled.
People who are chronically ill may have respiratory diseases, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and heart disease which have sustained for longer periods of time and resulted to alterations in health or disability. Between 2000 and 2004, 87% of the U.S. population ages 65 years old and older have one or more chronic conditions while those below the age of 65 approximately 35%-45% of the U.S. population have at least one chronic medical condition (The American Journal of Managed Care, 2006, 348). Thus, people ages 65 years old and older are more vulnerable to chronic diseases and disability.
Research suggest that mortality from chronic diseases is common among men while more physical restrictions due to a chronic illness are more likely to experience by women (August & Sorkin, 2010, 1834). Men gained a lot of health benefits from social integration but it is also the social-relatedness of a man that predisposes him to chronic diseases as a result of risky health behaviors such as smoking, frequent alcohol consumption, and substance abuse. Women, on the other hand, are more eager to have health-related knowledge, more likely to monitor own health status, and less likely to engage in risky health behaviors (August & Sorkin, 2010, 1834). Thus, men are more vulnerable to chronic conditions and disability compared to women.
Living with a chronic condition and suffering from disability are the realities for majority of the population in the United States; however, chronic illnesses prevalence varies across racial and ethnic groups. Minority populations include African Americans, Hispanic, and Native Americans while the Caucasians are the majority population. Racial and ethnic minorities are more vulnerable to chronic illness and experience greater complications and higher death rates compared to the majority population (Gallant, Spitze & Grove, 2010, 21). African Americans have the highest rates of chronic illness among all other race or ethnic groups, including the rates from hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis; Latinos are the largest minority group in U.S. and the rates of diabetes are higher than the Caucasians; Asian Americans have the lowest rates of chronic illness among all other race or ethnic groups except for the prevalence of hypertension which is higher than Latinos and Caucasians; American Indians experience significant burden from chronic disease and have the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis that are comparable among African Americans (Gallant, Spitze & Grove, 2010, 23-30). Therefore, African Americans and Native Americans (American Indian) are the ethnic minorities that are more vulnerable to chronic illness and disability.
Income rates significantly affect the health of the vulnerable population. Chronic illnesses are more prevalent in low-income groups than in high income groups (The American Journal of Managed Care, 2006, 349). People with chronic illnesses often intend not to receive or to delay necessary medical, dental, and mental healthcare and to not fill prescription. Basic needs are prioritized over health needs because of scarcity of resources. On the other hand, people with high income group can include health in the priority needs because income rates are sufficient enough to cover all essential and leisure needs.
The impact of chronic illnesses and disabilities to health are more severe in the less educated. According to the studies, patients with a chronic illness who have less than a high school education are 3 times more likely to report being in poor health than those with the same illness who hold a college degree (The American Journal of Managed Care, 2006, 349). For instance, African Americans and Native Americans rate their own health as fair or poor than in other racial or ethnic minorities. Based upon on the identified relationship of the self-perception of health and education, one can depict that African and Native Americans rate their own health as fair or poor because most of the samples included in the study report have low educational level.
References
August, K.J. & Sorkin, D.H. (2010). Marital Status and Gender Differences in Managing a Chronic Illness: The Function of Health-Related Social Control. Social Science and Medicine, 71(10): pp. 1831-1838. Doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.08.022.
Gallant, M.P., Spitze, G. & Grove, J.G. (2010). Chronic Illness Self-care and the Family Lives of Older Adults: A Synthetic Review across Four Ethnic Groups. Journal of Cross Cultural Gerontology, 25(1): pp. 21-43. Doi: 10.1007/s10823-010-9112-z.
Shi, L. & Stevens, G.D. (2010). A General Framework to Study Vulnerable Population. Vulnerable Populations in the United States (2nd ed.) (p. 1-34). California: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The American Journal of Managed Care. (2006). Vulnerable Populations: Who Are They? The American Journal of Managed Care, 12(13): pp. 348-352. Read More
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