Within my community there are a variety of vulnerable populations. Some of the most vulnerable are the elderly, behavioral and mental health, and homelessness. Luckily in my community, we have great resources available for all of them. When it comes to the elderly, we have many neighborhoods that are for ages 55 and older, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities. When an individual is admitted to the hospital, the case managers will assist with placing individuals who need it into the appropriate facility for them. They will also report any cases of abuse towards the elderly. Some forms of abuse may include physical, emotional, and financial. For individuals that are not admitted into a hospital, cases of abuse can also be reported to the Department of Elder Affairs. They can be reported either online, by phone, or by fax (Department of Elder Affairs, n.d.). If an elderly individual needs to be placed in a facility for long term care, a family member or physician can assist the individual with the process of finding a location that will suit the patient best.
Another vulnerable population is the behavioral and mental health population. In my community we have an inpatient facility right down the street called South County Mental Health Center. This facility is a state-chartered, nonprofit health care organization. They deliver high quality care for behavioral health as well as substance abuse disorders to people of all ages and income regardless of their ability to pay (South County Mental Health Center, 2020). Individuals can be placed there either voluntary or involuntary. Those that are involuntary are placed there because they were baker acted, while those that are voluntary can call the facility and asked to be placed there either by themselves or a family member if they are a minor.
Homelessness while it is not a huge population in my community, it does exist. There are many services available to them. Some services include Boca Helping Hands and Gateway Community Outreach. Boca Helping Hands provides food, medical and financial assistance to help with the basic needs of individuals. They also provide education and job-training for individuals to be self-sufficient (Boca Helping Hands, 2017). Gateway Community Outreach provides assistance to those who are struggling and are about to become homeless. They provide intensive case management, food, housing assistance, and referrals to those in need of emergency aid (Gateway Community Outreach, 2021).
While there are services available within my community, they are not advertised for individuals. Some ways that they can improve on is placing information in areas like bus stops, convenient stores, hospitals, clinics, fire stations, and advertisements on television. Police offers and healthcare providers would also be a good resource. If they have the proper information for all of the resources available to these individuals, when they come across someone that needs assistance, they can pass the information along.
Boca Helping Hands. (2017). Our Mission. Retrieved from: https://bocahelpinghands.org/Mission
Department of Elder Affairs. (n.d.). Elder Abuse Prevention Program. Retrieved from:http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/abuse_prevention.php
Gateway Community Outreach. (2021). Our Mission. Retrieved from: https://gcoflorida.org/about/
South County Mental Health Center. (2020). About SCMHC. Retrieved from: https://www.scmhcinc.org/
Resources for vulnerable populations in my community include organizations dealing with drug and substance abuse among adolescents, establishments providing services for the elderly, community education programs, and elder abuse services, and child welfare programs. Educational programs in my community are tasked to create awareness to prevent disease injury and improve community’s quality of life by creating awareness for individuals’ behavioral change, advocating for policy change, educating communities about their environments and its health, and partnering with governmental and non-governmental agencies to realize goals and objectives (Porteny et al., 2020). In particular community-based educational programs contribute to the overall health and well-being of people in Florida’s communities. They are developed to target vulnerable pope outside of the regular healthcare settings such as institutions of higher learning and schools, community health concerns, worksites and whole communities. However, the effectiveness of these organizations is often suboptimal due to lack of adequate fiscal and human resources (Porteny et al., 2020). Their impacting fails totrickle down to the community, especially when they fail to effectively engage the community and create long lasting partnerships that foster changeand enhance communities’ quality of life. Therefore, it is critical to establish an evidence-base for service delivery in community educational programs, utilize skilled human resource, and adopt policy interventions to improve impact.
Each setting for community-based programs offers chances for targeting and reaching people using prevailing social systems. This helps to optimize strategy and impact and decrease the amount of resources required to design and implement the programs. However, programs that utilize only one setting diminish their opportunities for having contact with people given that they have high contact with the community-based settings such as schools, worksites, or community centers. For instance, a program dealing with obesity and chronic disease prevention is likely to have contact with obese andchronically ill people in community centers, schools, and worksites.
Resources providing services to the elderly such as assisted living services, meals on wheels, transportation services, and elder abuse hotlines deliver their services in a timely and efficient manner. They coordinate their efforts to take care of the elderly’ needs and coordinate with healthcare organizations, other community-based resources, hospitals, and families (Porteny et al., 2020). This helps to reduce gaps in care for the elderly in terms of food security and nutrition, routine visits to healthcare facilities, and prevent widespread abuse of the elderly. However agencies dealing with drug and substance abuse in communities face challenges at multiple levels. They face the barrier of achieving maximum constant with the youth, family members, or community residents who are integral to commitment to eradication of drug and substance abuse. Although a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies actively seek collaborations and partnerships with these organizations, a disconnect exists between community-based programs for mental health services, drug and substance abuse and the general healthcare system. Healthcare systems perceive drug and substance abuse as a problem that requires being dealt with outside of the traditional healthcare system because it is viewed as a criminal and social problem.
Lack of cooperation and coordination between the healthcare system and drug and substance abuse disorders programs creates effective care delivery at the community level. Besides, drug and substance abuse services targeting the youth are not covered by insurance which further limits the efficiency of community-based programs in providing care to the vulnerable groups such as the youth. This presents room for improvement and better outcome’s in the treatment of substance abuse disorders in community-based organizations. Operational integration of prevention treatment and recovery in addition to efficient coordination of service delivery would improve substance abuse service delivery among the youth and other vulnerable groups (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); Office of the Surgeon General (US), 2016). Community-based organizations can liaise with other agencies to lobby for reform and policy enactment to facilitate improved integration of community-based substance abuse services to lower health disparities, decrease high costs and improve outcomes.
Porteny, T., Alegría, M., Del Cueto, P., Fuentes, L., Markle, S. L., NeMoyer, A., & Perez, G. K. (2020). Barriers and strategies for implementing community-based interventions with minority elders: Positive minds-strong bodies. Implementation Science Communications, 1(41), 1-13. doi: 10.1186/s43058-020-00034-4
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); Office of the Surgeon General (US) (2016). Facing addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on alcohol, drugs, and health. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services.
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