NR 443 Caring for Vulnerable Populations Discussion
NR 443 Caring for Vulnerable Populations Discussion
Review the Week 3 Case Study (Links to an external
site.)Links to an external site.. This case study focuses on a vulnerable young
woman who is facing many risk factors.
Discuss several risk factors that may impact health outcomes
for vulnerable populations.
Assurance is one of the three core functions of public
health. Find a resource in your community (other than WIC) that could assist
Mary during her pregnancy. Start by searching the Internet for your local
health department’s website. What services does it provide for pregnant women,
those living in poverty, or those with mental health concerns? What about your
local welfare office? Does it provide prenatal or mental health services? Are
there any service organizations, crisis pregnancy centers, or churches
providing help for pregnant women or those experiencing mental health concerns?
(The Internet, your local newspaper, and the telephone book may also help you
Briefly describe the types of services that you found.
Choose one agency and assess this agency in terms of the 4
A’s. Is it accessible, acceptable, affordable, or available for Mary or other
pregnant women that you case manage?
Are there adequate resources for other vulnerable
populations in your community
During any epidemic, it’s important to ensure that all communities are able to minimize risk for exposure, otherwise it’s hard to contain spread and reduce risk for the broader community,” says Brian Smedley, PhD, APA’s chief of psychology in the public interest.
Psychologists can play an essential role in combatting COVID-19 by prioritizing the unique needs of vulnerable populations, which include older adults, low-income families, and people in substandard or congregate living conditions.
To help address inequities, psychologists can:
Use telehealth services
As government and health officials encourage people to engage in social distancing to “flatten the curve,” psychologists are providing telepsychology to their existing patients and new ones. School and pediatric psychologists can also use telehealth to conduct online training for parents on how to best support their children during the crisis. Celeste Malone, PhD, an assistant professor of school psychology at Howard University, recommends that psychologists encourage parents to regularly check in with their children on how they are feeling about the pandemic, provide developmentally appropriate information, keep routines in place and stick to a regular schedule.
Offer services to low-income workers and their families
Low-income workers and their families are more likely to endure psychosocial stressors, such as risk of hunger and homelessness, unsafe and crowded living conditions, poor sanitation, and inadequate safety nets or social supports. A recent survey of hourly service workers shows that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a drastic reduction in work hours due to job loss and a deterioration in mental health for both parents and children. To help, psychologists can provide services via Medicaid, pro bono or on a sliding scale. APA’s Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Low Income and Economically Marginalized Populations can also inform the care you provide.
To help low-income children, psychologists can encourage schools to continue to provide meals and other services that they had received before school closures. In addition, psychologists can remind schools of the importance of making sure students stay digitally connected with teachers and peers during the COVID-19 crisis and offer suggestions on how to ease those connections. “These relationships keep many students in school and are important contributors to students’ emotional well-being,” says Beth Doll, PhD, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
Encourage social distancing, not social isolation
While physical distancing is vital to reducing the spread of COVID-19, psychologists can remind people about the importance of social connections and how to engage in them virtually or over the telephone. This is particularly important for older adults who, according to a National Academies report, are at great risk of early death, dementia and heart disease when they are socially isolated. It’s important that psychologists, family and friends make the effort to maintain connections with them, especially those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Advocate for people in substandard or congregate living conditions
People who are homeless, incarcerated, in detention centers, in nursing homes or in otherwise crowded conditions are at extreme risk of contracting coronavirus because they often lack the basic amenities or medical equipment to maintain preventative hygiene or social distancing.
Psychologists trying to provide telehealth services to these people may find their clients do not have computers or smartphones or the privacy required to do sessions. Where possible, psychologists should encourage facilities to follow CDC guidelines on how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and among homeless populations. Measures include facilitating hand-washing hygiene, reducing overcrowding and performing appropriate screening for symptoms of the disease.