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Health Assessment: Horizon City
Each community has its particular social and economic features that provide for the development of its unique profile. For healthcare specialists, including registered nurses, they may be valuable sources of information that allow them to identify potential health issues and define groups of risk. In addition, this information can be used for the efficient implementation of the preventive measures that may mitigate the impact of the problems and improve the overall quality of life of the residents. This paper focuses on the comprehensive assessment of the community of Horizon City, Texas, and the definition of its potential health issues, as well as the role of a registered nurse in the process of mitigation of its effects.
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The biophysical assessment of the community of Horizon City has revealed the following facts. First of all, the society is relatively balanced as far as gender is concerned – the share of men and women is almost the same, around 48.6% and 51.4% respectively, which provides for the equal distribution of male- and female-specific illnesses (American FactFinder 2010). On the other hand, the age profile is more diverse, with the majority of the population consisting of the people aged between 25 and 54 years. However, the share of elderly people, especially the ones between 60 and 74 years, is also significant (around 7.6%), as there are a risk of -disorders common to the elders. The diversity is also characteristic of the ethnic structure of the community consisting of the representatives of White (81.3%), Black (2.3%), Native American (0.6%), and Asian (0.5%) races (American FactFinder 2010). Therefore, the treatment of certain diseases should take into account the multiracial structure of society.
Horizon City has complete autonomy in the political sense, meaning that it possesses its own communication network and media, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services, that satisfy the respective needs of the entire region. At the same time, for volunteer and social services, it primarily depends on the organizations of El Paso that operate within the community, covering its members’ needs related to charity, veteran support, and child care (Richardson et al. 2010). As a result, it is possible to assume that the community will be able to respond to the incidents quickly, thus reducing the number of deaths from accidents and natural disasters. Moreover, such a social environment gives the feeling of safety, which may have a positive effect on the overall psychological climate in the community, helping to reduce the development of certain mental disorders, including depression.
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Horizon City is located near the western border of Texas, in the rugged mountainous area. The low density of the population (around 2,000 people per square mile, with the total amount of residents exceeding 16,000 people) and, therefore, insignificant industrialization provide for sufficient air quality (Schmandt, North & Clarkson 2011). The entire city is a suburban area, consequently, the region has an arid climate and does not receive enough rainfall, which makes it dependent on the Rio Grande as the primary source of water. However, the river’s flow is often disrupted due to precipitation and terrain features. Moreover, it consists almost entirely of sewer discharge after passing El Paso. As a result, there are housing problems in many remote areas of the city without adequate access to water and sewer services (Schmandt, North & Clarkson 2011). In turn, such environmental conditions may cause a potential shortage of drinking water, which may result in increased consumption of its substitutes, including alcoholic beverages, as well as the development of gastrointestinal disorders.
The majority of the residents of Horizon City live as families (86% of households) that contain three or more people. The share of single people (men or women who do not have a partner) and non-family households are insignificant (American FactFinder 2010). Education is provided by the Socorro and Clint Independent School Districts; more than half of the population has a college degree (American FactFinder 2014). The transport network is rather developed in Horizon City, with more than 700 people involved in this field of activity. Thus, there is constant communication between different districts of the region (Statistical Atlas 2016). The employment rate is rather high, with more than 11,000 people employed and only 630 without any work.
The median household income is on a sufficient level and reaches $52,000, (American FactFinder 2014). The share of religious people is around 55%, with Christianity being the dominant religion, which testifies to the fact that the moral principles of the society are rather strong. The autonomy of Horizon City also provides for the strong local leadership that enjoys a high level of trust. At the same time, the majority of the community organizations are located in the city of El Paso (Richardson et al. 2010), which somewhat lowers their accessibility. All these facts make it possible to conclude that the socio-cultural conditions within the community provide decently and, most importantly, healthy living to its members.
The developed transportation and warehouse industry of the city provides for the accessibility of goods and services to its residents. Moreover, despite its small size, Horizon City has many shopping, leisure, and entertainment facilities, including the zoo, several museums, and night clubs. Sport and recreation activities are focused on outdoor sports such as golf. The dining and seating facilities are primarily fast food services such as Subway and Tortas Rainbow Fountain (City Wide Information 2016). As a result, the consumption of resources is rather significant in the community, which may present such health problems as obesity and diabetes.
The health system of Horizon City is relatively developed, occupying the second place in the list of industries, employing the majority of people. Currently, more than 800 professionals work in this field of activity (Statistical Atlas 2016). By taking into account the fact that the population of the city exceeds 16,000 people, it is possible to say there are twenty potential patients per one healthcare specialist. However, most of the healthcare facilities are located in the neighboring city of El Paso (Richardson et al. 2010). Still, due to the developed transportation network, access to the medical services is relatively stable, enabling that. These facts make it possible to assume that the health level of the community is relatively high.
Potential Health Issues and the Role of the Registered Nurse
By taking into account several factors revealed in the course of the assessment (a considerable share of the elderly people and an increased risk of the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages), it is possible to define the potential health issue of the community. In this particular case, dementia may become one of the most common mental conditions in Horizon City. In general, it is the strongest decrease in cognitive activity accompanied by the losses of previously learned knowledge and skills as well as the difficulty or impossibility of acquiring the new ones. Unlike mental retardation, dementia is not an innate disorder and cannot be acquired in infancy. Instead, it is a disintegration of the mental functions that occur as a result of brain lesions during youth as a result of addictive behavior, and, most often, in the old age (Barker & Board 2012).
The primary cause of dementia is the death of neurons associated with the formation of toxic sediments in the brain or with the inadequate nutrition of the blood vessels. The deterioration of brain activity may also be caused by another identifiable disease that hampers the functioning of the neural system (i.e. secondary dementia). The primary one accounts for approximately 90% of all cases of this disorder while the second one occurs less frequently (Barker & Board 2012). Additionally, there are diseases and other violations that may lead to its development, including those involving the death of brain cells (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s chorea) and cerebrovascular illnesses (stroke, multiple heart attacks, and chronic cerebral ischemia). Moreover, dementia may occur due to the presence of metabolic disorders, including alcoholism, hypoxemia, liver and kidney failure, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, and so on (Barker & Board 2012).
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The role of the registered nurse in dealing with people who suffer from dementia or are at risk of its development is that of support and prevention. In particular, the specialist is to help the patients to adhere to the lifestyle that may prevent the disorder, namely a healthy, balanced diet, which prevents increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease development (Barker & Board 2012). She may also provide assistance in getting rid of bad habits (especially smoking and alcohol abuse) as well as fostering education and constant mental activity (sharing the new knowledge, intellectual games, etc.). The latter measure does not preclude the loss of neurons but enables the patient to compensate for their loss. Finally, the nurse is to help the patient to maintain regular communication with a wide range of acquaintances. Scientists claim that people who have not started a family are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia (Barker & Board 2012).
In addition, the availability of support services and the use of non-pharmacological methods of behavioral intervention by the nurse can improve the quality of life of people suffering from dementia as well as that of their relatives (most of the residents of Horizon City are married). This activity includes the treatment of opportunistic diseases and the coordination of care among different healthcare specialists. Moreover, the nurse is to coordinate the processes of behavioral intervention, i.e. coping with aggression, sleep disturbance, and anxiety (Barker & Board 2012). In other words, the people suffering from dementia require comprehensive support, meaning that the activity of the registered nurse is to be a mix of clinical and consulting work.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The presence of several factors in the community of Horizon City, namely the high share of the elderly people and water shortage, may result in an increased risk of the development of dementia with some of the residents, which may lower the health level of the city as a whole. At the same time, the nature of the reviewed issue (e.g. its irreversibility) makes it possible to give several recommendations for the registered nurses who are to operate in Horizon City. First of all, it is imperative to conduct the assessment of the community on a constant basis, monitoring the changes in demographics, environmental, social, and economic conditions to define the groups of people with the highest risk of the development of dementia. Furthermore, it is necessary to implement the preventive measures described above. As for the existing patients, it is advisable to maintain the quality of their lives on a high level, which requires significant competence on the part of the registered nurse. Thus, such healthcare specialists must develop their skills in the field of psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychological counseling, and family therapy to ensure the best results of their work.
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