Community Health Nurse

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What is the difference between a group at risk for poor health and a group considered a vulnerable population? Provide an example of a group at risk and a group considered a vulnerable population.

  • Explain why members of these groups cannot advocate for themselves or why advocating for these groups would be beneficial.
  • What would you advocate for?
  • What risk are you taking as a community health nurse when advocating for the aforementioned problem?

A vulnerable population is 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. There are a number of characteristics, traits, or circumstances that enhance the potential for poor health. Certain groups are more vulnerable to health risks.

At risk groups/persons includes the poor, the homeless, the disabled, the severely mentally ill, the very young, and the very old. For example; older adults are vulnerable to being victimized. Because of increased dependency and the potential for chronic health impairment, older adults may be placed in situations in which they are less able to advocate for their own needs. Older adults may be abused or neglected by caregivers or be victims of criminal practices.

Community/public health nurses can advocate on behalf of vulnerable groups by writing and calling government representatives and speaking to professional and community organizations about the problems and needs for high-risk groups. The community health nurse may work with a coalition of providers and citizen groups to advocate for the needs of the older adult population or may participate in hearings of area agencies on aging to advocate for greater community-based long-term care services.

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