RIC Vulnerable Population Discussion

Hello, the assignment is to respond to these two discussion post. The topic is about Disaster Preparedness. Please see attached rubric for discussion response requirement. Please type discussion 1 and put your response under it as if you were replying to the writer. Be sure to include references of peer reviewed article used in the response. Each discussion should include 2 references. 200 words to each response. Please respond yo Courtney and Allison.

Allison’s post

There are a large amount of health issues that remain a problem globally and specifically in the United States. On a national scale, the obesity epidemic is reaching a tipping point, with children and adults reaching all-time high weights on the scale. On a state-by-state basis, there are varying worries but one that remains prominent in numerous states is the issue with drug overdoses, an offshoot of the ongoing opioid epidemic in the country. No matter the location, there are health issues that must be addressed and interventions that should be utilized or created to tackle these chronic ailments.

The early 2000s was the first time that the government came forward and noted that the United States has a “growing obesity epidemic” (Galvin, 2020). At that time, there was roughly 30% of the entire population that struggled with obesity. In 2017, the rate of obesity across the country reached 42.4% while the rate of severe obesity reached almost ten percent. These statistics showcase that the public health goals set two decades prior were not successful. Of these percentages, women were more likely to be severely obese and those with less education and lower income were also more vulnerable to this issue. The thought process behind this is that healthier food options are more expensive and those with less time due to work and less income are simply not able to afford the healthier options (Galvin, 2020).

In contrast, drug overdoses vary from state to state. Larger states like California see annually just over 6,000 deaths associated with drugs while states like North and South Dakota report hardly any overdoses each year. In Florida, there were 5,268 deaths associated with drug overdoses. There is no definitive race or age that is more likely to experience this issue but many of these overdoses were noted as seeking help in the past (Centers for Disease Control, 2019). Those who suffer from chronic illnesses and chronic pain are more likely to suffer from drug addiction and overdoses due to the hope of lessening the pain they experience daily (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020).

To combat these issues, it may be helpful to utilize the public health intervention wheel, a concept that analyzes issues on a population basis, not systems and family based. This intervention model has three levels of public health practice and 17 interventions that may prove beneficial (Schaffer & Strohschein, 2019), For obesity at a national level, it is pertinent to look at these solutions on a broader level, something that proper education can provide. In school systems and companies, implementing a nutrition course for all involved parties may prove beneficial. In addition to this, for those who are already obese, implementing a free exercise course in cities around the country could create an outlet at a community level.

For drug abuse, it has been widely noted that prescriptions should be more heavily monitored. High-risk opioids, like morphine and fentanyl, should be used sparingly and when utilized, it should likely only occur in healthcare facilities. By cutting down the number of prescriptions written for these drugs, the goal is to see a decrease in addiction before it ever occurs (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020). Increasing the number of people who can receive medication to treat this issue should increase at a community level. Drug addictions are difficult to overcome, and often other medications are incredibly helpful in ‘weaning’ a person off of their drug of choice (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020).

Courtney’s post

According to the United Health Foundation, there is a high prevalence of excessive drinking in Massachusetts. Alcoholism presents itself as the state’s highest-ranking challenge on the health report card. (2021) Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be described as having a strong urge to drink, drinking in excess, and drinking that interferes with daily living such as work and relationships. (U.S. National Library of Medicine 2021) “According to the 2019 NSDUH, 14.5 million (nearly 15 million) people ages 12 and older (5.3 percent of this age group) had AUD.” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2021) Development of AUD typically begins early on in life, with 15% of all lifetime cases beginning in adolescence, or before the age of 18. (Glantz et al., 2019) According to Mayo Clinic, some risk factors for AUD include steady drinking over time, starting at an early age, family history, depression or other mental health disorders, history of trauma or social and cultural factors. (2018) Cases of AUD are more prevalent in men than women. Many people turn to alcohol to cope with their emotional stressors. As times grow progressively challenging financially, economically and socially, it truly is not surprising to learn of this fact. This is consistent throughout not only Massachusetts, but nationally as we recover from the pandemic. “An important feature of alcohol use epidemiology is the comorbid association with both other substance use disorders and other mood disorders.” (Mellinger 2019) Those who struggle with a coinciding addiction or those with a history of mental illness are at an increased risk of AUD. Being aware of these risk factors allows for not only the patient, but for the healthcare professional in their life to assess signs of development of a disorder and allow for prevention discussion. Knowing personal risk factors such as gender, race, family history, and increased stressors can assist in determining level of threat.

Along with the many physical ailments and diseases associated with AUD, United Health Foundation states that a side effect of drinking is memory and learning problems. This leads us into a nationally recognized health problem, Alzheimer’s disease. According to the USA Health Care Report Card, Alzheimer’s is up more than 700% in the last 33 years. According to the CDC, Alzheimer’s is one of the leading causes of death, accounting for 121,499 deaths annually. (October 2021) Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 75% of all cases. “Dementia can be defined as a clinical syndrome characterized by a cluster of symptoms and signs manifested by difficulties in memory, disturbances in language and other cognitive functions, changes in behaviors, and impairments in activities of daily living.” (Qiu et al., 2009) Although alcohol can cause temporary or short-term impairment with memory, many years of drinking can result in severe long-term memory loss and create severe complications in the brain. Alcohol use disorder and memory loss coincide together as something better known as Wernicke’s-Korsakoff syndrome or ‘wet brain’. “The etiology of Korsakoff syndrome is mainly due to chronic alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse can trigger a cascade of biochemical reactions that target specific regions of the brain that are more susceptible to damage.” (Popa et al., 2021) Although Alzheimer’s and Korsakoff syndrome are not the same disease, they present very similarly. Lifestyle choices can increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, drinking a main factor on that list.

In effort to contest against alcohol use disorder and ultimately lessen the chance of developing memory ailments later in life, the Public Health Intervention wheel allows for ways for public health nurses to intervene a problem at large. For example, screening patients who are at increased risk of developing alcohol use disorder and coalition building with partners in the healthcare team to diagnose and treat alcoholism can build stronger connections with patients and achieve goals more seamlessly. These contacts can be mental health counselors, addiction counselors and social workers. They will be able to connect these patients with the help they need. The public health nurse must know the community they are working with and target the populations at increased risk. For this example, adolescent and young adult men should be prioritized for alcohol abuse screenings. According to the CDC, the goal behind these public health services is to “strengthen, support and mobilize communities and partnerships to improve health” and “assure an effective system that enables equitable access to the individual services and care needed to be healthy” (March 2021)

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