Term Paper: Care for Populations

Pages: 10 (2937 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Healthcare  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] While it can be understood in many cases, there are times when it seems to be exactly the wrong thing to do, yet it occurs anyway. Because public health is also underfunded, those who want to push the bureaucracy aside and help the community members who are most in need are not able to do so (Turnock, 2009). It becomes a struggle to get the funds needed to provide the services that the population requires, and so many people in the community give up on getting help. They know they will not get it quickly, and they often suspect they will be denied, even though they really do need the help and, in many cases, deserve that help. There is also limited funding, so some of those who are eligible will still have to be turned away (Garrett, 2000).

Community Health Problem: Homelessness

One of the biggest health problems in the population is Homelessness. When a person is homeless, it is not only good medical care that he or she lacks. Even basic health services and hygiene can become difficult, which leads to a higher level of disease and chronic health issues than would be seen in a person who has somewhere to live. There are many shelters where a homeless person can get in off the street and find food and a place to sleep, but that does not truly give them a home. It only gives them a very temporary respite from what they are going through, and that is not enough to make them (or keep them) healthy. Most communities deal with homelessness to some degree, but there are communities and populations where it is much more common than in others (Barzilai, 2003). More should be done, of course, but without funding there is little that public health and/or any other organizations can do in order to make sure people have somewhere to live, enough to eat, and basic hygiene and medical care that will ward off a number of disease and conditions.

Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Public and Community Services

Ethically, everyone who truly needs public health and community services should be able to get them. It is tragic that countries that have so many vast resources still have people who are homeless, starving, and sick based on problems they did not create. That is not always true for these people, but there are a number of individuals in the population who have done everything "right" only to be stricken by disease and poverty (Cohen, 1985; Long & Perkins, 2003). These are the people who need the most help, but they often cannot get it because of the legal aspects of public and community services, including "red tape." Often, these people make "just enough" to keep them from qualifying for free services, or they struggle to pay their bills but are told they are not old enough, young enough, disabled enough, sick enough, or something enough to get the help they require (Turnock, 2009).

Many of these people do not want handouts, or to live a life of leisure for free. They just need a little help in the form of community services and public health services. Ethically, they should get them, but legally they do not qualify. It is clear that something should be done to change this, but there are many facets to it and it is not something that can just be adjusted. There is a great deal of infrastructure that goes into community programs and public health services, and to change one aspect of them would mean changing other aspects that would affect other programs (Turnock, 2009). That is not an overnight fix, but it does seem as though nothing is being done to move toward a solution that might be more viable in the future, and that can leave the population angry and frustrated.

Funding of Public and Community Health Services

The funding for community and public health services generally comes from the government (Heggenhougen & Quah, 2008). That means that taxpayer funds are being used to help those who are most in need and most vulnerable in a population (Turnock, 2009). This is a good example of the government caring for the people it is designed to serve. However, mismanagement and other problems have reduced the amount of funding these services receive (Garrett, 2000; Turnock, 2009). While many people complain about high taxes, they also complain that there are not enough services for the amount they are paying. This is not the time or place to get into a political discussion. However, keeping more of a country's money "at home" could help increase the funding for public and community health services. That would allow more people to get the help they need, and would open the doors to a number of people who have been turned away because there was no more funding available for the program they needed.

The Role of Communication in Health Programs

One of the main issues with health programs today is the lack of communication that is seen in many of them (Heggenhougen & Quah, 2008; Turnock, 2009). While it is not possible to have perfect communication between people, departments, and agencies all the time, it is possible to improve the current level of communication that is generally seen (Heggenhougen & Quah, 2008). When that is done, there will be more dialogue between those who can help the population with its public health needs, and that means more people who need help will get it. There will be faster processing of applications for those who have requested assistance, and a better opportunity for agencies to work together in order to ensure that the maximum number of people get help. Losing paperwork, not remembering to pass on information, and just not being open about issues and concerns all contribute to problems within health programs and difficulties for those who need those programs the most (Heggenhougen & Quah, 2008). Some of that lack of communication comes from bureaucracy, but much of it can be adjusted with a little bit of training.

Communication plays such a vital role in health programs that it really should be taken more seriously. Misunderstanding a problem or diagnosis, or providing inaccurate information in one area of an application or other piece of paperwork, can create a major problem for a person who needs help (Turnock, 2009). Getting that error fixed is often very difficult because of procedures that have to be followed, and the person who needs the help is the one who suffers for the mistake of someone else (Turnock, 2009). This is not only frustrating, but it is time consuming and could actually be medically harmful to the person who needs the help. If communication in health programs is not handled carefully, many people lose out on the value of the health care they would otherwise be able to receive.

Conclusion

In my health care career, I expect to use communication the most. The value of it is too great to be denied, and there is a very high level of power in the communications that are made among and across communities and public health services when it comes to caring for the most vulnerable in a population. Because of that, there is an urgency to communicating effectively, and it can be seen how deeply important good communication really is. While there is much to be learned from a procedural standpoint when it comes to working in the public health sector, very little of that will matter if communication procedures are not handled effectively. That is why communication will be a strong focus for me, and why it should be something carefully considered by any and all community service programs. When those who work in these organizations are taught the true value and importance of proper communication, everyone in the community will benefit.

References

Barzilai, G. (2003). Communities and law: Politics and cultures of legal identities. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Chipuer, H.M., & Pretty, G.M.H. (1999). A review of the sense of community index: Current uses, factor structure, reliability, and further development. Journal of Community Psychology, 27(6): 643-658.

Cohen, A.P. (1985). The symbolic construction of community. Routledge: New York.

Garrett, L. (2000). Betrayal of trust: the collapse of global public health. New York: Hyperion.

Heggenhougen, K, & Quah, S.R., (eds.). (2008). International encyclopedia of public health. Amsterdam Boston: Elsevier/Academic Press.

Long, D.A., & Perkins, D.D.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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