Vulnerable populations are the people that are fundamentally disadvantaged due to their socio-economic status. They include those without health insurance, the elderly, the homeless, those infected with HIV, the economically impoverished, and racial and ethnic minorities (“Vulnerable Populations,” 2006). There are insufficient resources for vulnerable populations; thus, well-designed improvements can alleviate their suffering. An effective resource response to vulnerable people within communities is critical to securing their health and socioeconomic status.
Although the vulnerable populations have urgent, serious, and life-threatening health conditions, there are not enough resources within the communities to meet their needs. The case of the uninsured perfectly illustrates the inability of the existing resources and programs to meet their needs. The latest data from America Community Survey (ACS) shows that in 2019, 9.2% of people in the United States lacked health insurance at the time of data collection, an increase from the previous year’s figure of 8.9 % and 28.6 million; furthermore, in the same year, about 8.0% of Americans did not have health insurance at any point of the year (“ Health Insurance Coverage,” 2020). Chronic diseases pose a significant health problem in the United States. According to the CDC (2019), six out of every ten Americans have a chronic disease while four out of every ten adults have two or more chronic diseases; moreover, chronic diseases are the major contributors of death and disabilities and the major consumer of the U.S. healthcare costs. According to research conducted by Earnin that surveyed more than 2000 Americans, approximately 54% of those surveyed delayed seeking critical health services due to the prohibitive cost of healthcare; another 23% delayed seeking care from more than one year for the same reason (Carter, 2018). The financial inability of this population segment as demonstrated through delayed health care is severe:
The three types of care that are delayed most: dental work, eye care and … Of those who have delayed care in the past 12 months, 55 percent put off dental and/or orthodontic work, 43 put off delayed eye care … (Carter, 2018).
The research by Earnin further established an interesting relationship between the prohibitive cost of healthcare in the United states, delayed healthcare, and tax refunds; it showed that “…many Americans defer treatments they need until they receive a tax refund, assuming they get one at all” (Carter, 2018). Therefore, available data indicates that the community’s resources are inadequate and unable to meet the vulnerable populations’ health needs; this situation is compounded by an endemic pattern of low income and lack of health insurance.
There are several ways that the vulnerable populations and their welfare can be safeguarded and the models for interventions improved. Firstly, since most vulnerable people are plagued by low income, intervention programs should focus on income-generating activities and employment. A health insurance scheme designed for this low-income group should be conceptualized since most vulnerable populations have low income and cannot afford the available health insurance schemes. Vulnerable people need to be protected from unethical research that may take advantage of their socio-economic vulnerabilities through monetary inducements by enacting regulations (Shivayogi, 2013). The provision of free or affordable housing and other physical amenities can aid populations living in abusive homes, the homeless, immigrants, refugees, the suicidal, and those recovering from drug abuse. According to Shi et al. (2008), a multi-pronged approach that targets multiple vulnerabilities is ideal for dealing with vulnerable populations than the single-pronged policy that has failed. Consequently, health professionals should design data structures that monitor different risk factors and vulnerabilities and how these impact each other, effectively enabling the multi-pronged approach (Shi et al, 2008). Moreover, there is a need to understand the context of the risk factors that create vulnerabilities and ensure that funding the interventions is efficient and coordinated (Shi et al., 2008). Therefore, improving interventions to vulnerable populations should include income support activities, free or affordable housing, alternative health insurance schemes, a multi-pronged approach to managing vulnerabilities, and coordinated financing.
Though vulnerable populations continue to strain the United States’ healthcare system, there have not been adequate resource-responses. Thus, the number of low-income or unemployed people and the uninsured with chronic diseases continue to soar. Any interventions that fail to address the socio-economic root causes of vulnerabilities such as the lack of employment and low income may not succeed. Moreover, there is a need to adopt a multi-pronged approach that incorporates all the risk factors that create vulnerabilities.
Post # 2
Within the population of the United States, there are aggregates or groups that run a disproportionately
greater risk for poor health than the remainder of the population. These groups have certain characteristics,
traits, or experiences that increase their vulnerability. A vulnerable population is a group or groups that are
more likely to develop health-related problems (Maurer & Smith, 2013). Vulnerable populations include the
economically disadvantaged, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, the unemployed, uninsured and under-
insured, children of low-income families, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming, people with HIV, people with
severe mental and behavioral health disorders, the homeless, refugees, and many others. These groups are
especially susceptible to poor health, chronic disease, disability, and early mortality. Often, standard health
care delivery cannot meet the needs of these vulnerable populations and new modalities need to be
discovered to address these growing and preventable concerns. The community has all sorts of resources to
help the vulnerable population. During the height of Covid-19, just about everyone experience a vulnerable
moment. It took some time, but many agency resources were made available. These resources included food
sharing, small business loan assistance, government stimulus payment, and rental payment to name a few.
These resources were very necessary in the need of the was happening and is still affecting many people
Health care access including medical insurance coverage remains to be a big problem for many people. Under
the Affordable Care Act (ACA) everyone is entitled to have some sort of health care coverage. Although this
is not the case for many, leaving them to go without medical care when there is a need. Across communities,
the range of health care services needed and the ability of individuals to access health care services varies
widely. The American Hospital Association (AHA) task force recommends that access to a baseline level of
high-quality, safe, and effective services should be preserved and protected within all communities (Bhatt &
In conclusion, vulnerable populations, defined as those at greater risk for poor health status and healthcare
access, experience significant disparities in life expectancy, access to and use healthcare services, morbidity,
and mortality. Their health needs are complex, intersecting with social and economic conditions they
experience. This population is also likely to have one or more physical and/or mental health condition
(Author unk., 2006). Covid-19 is still on the rise, so remember to wear your mask, stay at least 6 feet apart
(social distance), and wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer frequently. Just remember stay
safe the holidays are approaching.
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