In the USA, around 18.7% of the population has some sort of physical or mental disability (“Disability and health,” n.d.). That constitutes about 56.7 million people that encounter physical and mental challenges while carrying on with their everyday lives (“Disability and health,” n.d.). In many cases, the disabled people are of old age, since at the end of their lives, the bodies become more frail and vulnerable to disease and physical damage. The majority of American cities and neighborhoods do not provide sufficient accommodations with these needs. The purpose of the assessment is to identify the vulnerable population, strengths, risk factors, barriers, and community sources, as well as providing a community health problem diagnosis that would help improve the situation in Little Havana.
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Vulnerable Population Overview
The windshield survey identified the elderly and the disabled as the vulnerable population in the community. First off, very few houses and public installations had special access to accommodate those with disabilities. Very few, if any elderly or disabled citizens were seen out in the street, despite it being a nice, warm, and sunny day. This indicates that the community, in general, provides no place for these people to go, and that is affecting their physical, social, and psychological states. Lastly, the communities show no interest in accommodating the elderly and the disabled, as no signs indicated the presence of such. The population largely remains ignorant of the problem.
Strengths, Risk Factors, and Barriers
The community is not entirely unprepared to address the disabled and elderly patients’ needs. East Little Havana features two non-profit organizations, one of which is addressing the needs of elderly patients, while the other is assisting the blind. In addition, the city has good ecology with plenty of parks and a general lack of pestilence, which would provide spaces of recreation and contribute to good health.
While some of the freshly-built public places like supermarkets feature a ramp and other measures of assisting the elderly and the disabled, most houses and public buildings do not feature any, meaning that a disabled person will not be able to enter without requesting for outside help. This help may entail certain risks, as carrying a person in a wheelchair up the stairs may end up in serious injury both for the disabled person and those who are trying to help (Barnes & Burke, 2012).
There are very few measures of orientation for the blind – some streetlights do not emit a recognizable signal. The sidewalks are lacking any tactile tiles meant to assist in orientation. Many lamp posts, traffic signs, and advertisement posters are not painted bright and cannot be easily identified Cupples, Hart, Johnston, & Jackson, 2012).
Little Havana features several community sources available for the elderly and the disabled. The first non-profit organization is called the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually-Impaired. As its name suggests, it provides assistance to people of all ages, races, and genders, who cannot see well. This includes specialized classes, providing Braille books, and offering physical assistance to those in need. However, the center does not have many employees to visit people at home, and their activity is limited to working in the center. Other social services Little Havana Activity Center, Little Havana Activities-Nutrition, and Little Havana Retirement Living.
These centers provide support and engage the elderly by enabling them to perform physical activities, offering healthy choices of diet, and providing a retirement home, where they are tended and cared for. While these facilities are adequate, they are largely non-profit organizations, which means their budgets are reliant on many sources, such as government funding and donations. Should a crisis strike, they would have no income. In addition, all of them are located in the Eastern part of Little Havana, meaning that the elderly from other parts of the city would have a longer time getting there. Lastly, the size of Little Havana Retirement Living is too small to accommodate everyone.
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Community Health Problem Diagnosis
The Healthy People 2020 program provides ample data on the objectives aimed at improving public health throughout the country. One of the most pressing matters in this community, as it was already observed and noted in this report, is the lack of specialized visitable features that would allow the disabled to perform certain actions without asking for outside assistance.
This includes the construction of ramps, providing special restrooms to disabled people, installing specialized sound emitters on traffic lights, placing tactile tiles on the sidewalks, and other measures covered by the DH-11 Objective (“Systems and policies, n.d.). A nurse can play an important role in advancing said objective. The majority of the population can be unaware of the disabled peoples’ plea, which is the reason for not providing any accommodations for them. Conducting an information campaign, personally visiting shop owners, public space workers, and other stakeholders could have a positive effect on the issue.
Little Havana is a comely city with above-average living conditions and low poverty levels. Despite this fact, it still has vulnerable population groups such as the disabled and the elderly. Current conditions do not meet the standards for the accommodation of these vulnerable groups and must be improved upon. A nurse could help improve the situation in this locality by providing information and being an activist to promote the construction of all the necessary accommodations, which include ramps, specialized restrooms, tactile tiles, road sound emitters, and other measures.
Barnes, J., & Burke, T.F. (2012). Making way: Legal mobilization, organizational response, and wheelchair access. Society Review, 46(1), 167-198.
Cupples, M.E., Hart, P.M., Johnston, A., & Jackson, A.J. (2012). Improving healthcare access for people with visual impairments and blindness. BMJ, 344, 42-46.
Disability and health. (n.d.)
Systems and policies. (n.d.)