Community Nursing Case Study
Considering Potential Uses of Mobile Vans
The current use of the 11-passenger van is a difficult to improve upon because it already seems to be maximizing its useful potential. Perhaps the one conceivable improvement might be to use it to publicize the availability of healthcare services and programs available to member of rural communities who are unaware of available services. The current use primarily benefits patients who already know about available medical services.
The current plans for the van seem somewhat unrealistic, particularly I light of the limited staff available. It might be more advisable to concentrate exclusively on a few clinical functions such as administrating flu shots and immunizations. As the van project proves capable of achieving its operational goals, more functions could be added gradually. In that regard, one of the most important supplemental functions would be providing basic information about healthcare services and options available to the community to reduce inappropriate reliance on emergency departments for primary healthcare services, for example.
Innovative Approaches to Reaching Culturally Isolated Communities
Some of the more innovative approaches to reaching people with healthcare information include programs as simple as those establishing tool free hotlines for basic medical questions such as those intended to reduce the strain on hospital emergency departments posed by patients seeking non-emergent healthcare. In many cases, those types of initiatives have also provided information about the availability of affordable and free healthcare services for patients who would have presented with non-emergent healthcare concerns to emergency departments mainly because they were unaware of affordable healthcare options.
Some of the most valuable services for vulnerable aggregates are those like the federally funded programs providing nutritional prenatal support and nutritional support for infant children. That approach was innovative in that it reflected a recognition of how much nutritional support in infancy reduces the subsequent need for medical services such as those that are largely attributable to problems linked to poor nutrition in infancy and early childhood. In the long run, program funds spent on those types of programs may be some of the best types of preventative medicine. Therefore, I would suggest developing similar programs at the state level.
Barriers for such programs might come from individuals who are concerned with fiscal responsibility at a time when state governments are under pressure to conserve funds. Necessary support would come from healthcare providers and experts capable of explaining that every dollar spent on these types of preventative programs likely saves considerably more on future costs that would typically be borne by the state budget. A research project could consist of empirical evidence documenting the link between lack of prenatal healthcare services and nutritional support for infants and subsequent costs attributable to patients with healthcare issues traceable to that lack of support.
Participatory action research on this topic could involve providing nutritional support to a small sample of prenatal women and infants and then comparing their subsequent healthcare needs over a term of several years. In principle, results such as healthier children and lower rates of healthcare problems in those sample subjects would provide evidence of the value of this type of program in connection with both human health and cost savings.
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