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7311MED Social Determinants of Health - Free Samples to Students

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Using the following outline, discuss the impact of social determinants in terms of the scenario. Include all four categories:
Descriptions of the health access issue and the affected population:
Explain why access to health services is an important issue for today’s communities.
Identify the three elements that comprise access to health services.
Discuss specific barriers that affect a person's health status.
Health indicators:
Describe the leading health indicators that demonstrate the lack of access to care, using information from Healthy People 2020.
Public health interventions:
Describe various public health interventions that have been used to address the issue.
Social determinants:
Identify the social determinants that impact the quality of health.
Describe how increased understanding of the social determinants of health has changed or influenced public health interventions over time. 

Answer:

Introduction

Inequalities in healthcare services is a major global issue. It is essential for all American citizens to achieve equity in health services. Lack of access to health care at any age leads to poor health outcomes. It is necessary to address the needs of any typical American community concerning the public health services (Braveman & Gottlieb, 2014). The following report aims to chart out all the social determinants that affect health care access for this community.


Discussion 

Descriptions of the health access issue and the affected population: 

Access to health care services is defined as the timely use of medical services to gain the best possible health benefit. Health care services help to prevent diseases and premature deaths, thus promote and maintain quality health outcome (Cohen & Syme, 2013). It is comprised of a few important elements, such as:

  • Coverage: Maintaining a health insurance keeps people secured at times of need and ensures to provide medical care.
  • Availability of services: A stable and long-term service provider ensures proper screening, diagnosis and prevention.
  • Timeliness: The ability to achieve healthcare services when needed.

However, to achieve all the benefits of healthcare one must overcome the barriers first. Specifically, issues such as insufficient services, inadequate insurance coverage and the high cost of medical services cause a delay in achieving appropriate patient care. Even sometimes the patient’s ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability status poses a strong impact on access to healthcare.

Health indicators: 

When a patient is capable of accessing medical services, it affects their health largely. Having access to primary care provider (PCP) or even affordable medical insurance has a profound effect on their health. In the case of children and adolescents, vaccination, regular doctor visits and routine check-ups are a part of maintaining healthy immunised growth and development. Also for adults, regular screening, check-ups and monitoring are essential for avoiding many sexually transmitted diseases, infertility issues, many life-threatening diseases like cancer or to keep a normal weight, blood pressure or cholesterol level. Especially for senior citizens above the age of 65 should regularly be screened for age-related impairments such as vision or hearing loss (Diepeveen et al., 2013).

Public health interventions: 

Patients belonging to a lower socioeconomic background are more prone to being unable of accessing the healthcare services. To overcome this vulnerability, the main interventions taken into consideration includes reducing the barriers that hamper participation in health services and building up the capacity of the healthcare providers to focus on a specific target group. For improving access to public health care all the interventions should be aimed at the implementation of the health services at the core district level (People, 2013). No matter what measures are taken, they must be monitored at a regular basis to facilitate the service development. When the health services are considered from a monetary approach, often they are not able to deliver the required services and fail to acknowledge authoritative decisions at all levels.

Social determinants: 

Social determinants that impact the quality of health include resource availability, compatibility, interactions, socioeconomic conditions, technological exposure or even any social disorders. These factors are dependent on the environmental and physical conditions in which the citizens are born, grown, educated, employed and have lived their entire life. All these determinants cumulatively impact on the health and quality of life of the people. Long-term exposure to unhealthy environment whether regarding routine sanitation or crime and violence can impose harmful effects on health (Pearcy & Keppel, 2016). At the same time, insufficiency of nutritious food, quality education, transportation or residential options can affect them too. The physical determinants that have a serious impact on the access to the health care services include natural environment of the neighbourhood, any physical hazards, physical barriers or necessary equipment such as proper lighting and benches- all of which are responsible for maintaining a proper interaction among people and their social environments (Jennings, Larson & Yun, 2016). As for example, most of the places in the United States possess higher levels of air pollutants, which leads to an increased risk of asthma in people of all age groups, especially in children.

Conclusion 

Therefore, from the above discussion it can be concluded that the citizens’ ability to access health care services is dependent upon various inter-related economic, social, physical and environmental determinants which are in turn affected by personal issues such as age, ethnic or racial background, gender and sexual orientation. More research and development strategies to eliminate such disparities is a prerequisite. Thus, strategic and systematic removal of all these barriers is the key to for development of accessible healthcare for all Americans.

References:

Braveman, P., & Gottlieb, L. (2014). The social determinants of health: it's time to consider the causes of the causes. Public health reports, 129(1_suppl2), 19-31.

Cohen, A. K., & Syme, S. L. (2013). Education: a missed opportunity for public health intervention. American journal of public health, 103(6), 997-1001.

Diepeveen, S., Ling, T., Suhrcke, M., Roland, M., & Marteau, T. M. (2013). Public acceptability of government intervention to change health-related behaviours: a systematic review and narrative synthesis. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 756.

Jennings, V., Larson, L., & Yun, J. (2016). Advancing sustainability through urban green space: cultural ecosystem services, equity, and social determinants of health. International Journal of environmental research and public health, 13(2), 196.

Pearcy, J. N., & Keppel, K. G. (2016). A summary measure of health disparity. Public health reports.

People, H. (2013). Conclusion and future directions: CDC health disparities and inequalities report—United States, 2013. CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report—United States, 2013, 62(3), 184.


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