The beliefs and attitude towards health differ in people according to their social position in society. Different population groups experience different health problems and issues. The approach to receiving health care also differs in a different group. Some groups might be having a major issue in health because of the specific barriers they face in health and access to healthcare service (Clifford et al., 2015). This report specifically focuses on the health characteristics and issues of socioconomically disadvantaged people in Australia. It outlines the health characteristics of this population and describes the major health issues faced by this population groups both at the local and national levels. The essay describes the relevant risk factors faced by the community and identifies common barrier experienced by this group. Finally, the report discusses the role of the nurse in care for socioeconomically disadvantaged people.
The Aboriginal and Torres Islander people of Australia is the most socioeconomically disadvantaged people in Australia. They are the original inhabitants of the land. They have been named aboriginal or indigenous because they settled in the country before settlers came from other places. They have retained their distinct social and cultural characteristics (Scott & Hogg, 2015).But significant disparities exist between this group and other non-indigenous groups regarding factors related to the quality of life. They are the many other socioeconomically disadvantaged people in Australia who suffer due to lower standards of housing, education, employment and health. Due to this low standard of living, they also suffer from many diseases and has significant health issues. They are twice more likely to be hospitalized for diseases than the general population of Australia. The socioeconomically disadvantaged group mainly experience social inequality when resources in the society are not distributed evenly among them (Dudgeon et al., 2014, pp-117-121).
The socioeconomically disadvantage people in Australia have the worst health status and highest mortality rates. High incidence of poor health is reported in this group of the population. Many of them are affected by cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and they are twice more likely to be hospitalised due to CVD. It has been the leading cause of death among this group of population (Siahpush et al., 2015). The incidence of death due to cancer in this group has also increased because their cancer reaches the advanced stage by the time it is diagnosed. The majority of illness occurs in this group of Australia because of little access to proper health care service in remote areas and increased chance of missing screening programs. Even if they receive treatment, it is not of high quality because of poor economic conditions. Most of them suffer from chronic kidney disease (Garcia-Garci & Jha, 2015). Often people discontinue treatment or do not follow treatment regimen due to their inherent cultural values which forbid them from following clinical treatment procedures. Diabetes is also common in socioeconomically disadvantaged people who mainly live in remote areas. They are affected by this disease at a relatively younger age than the general population of Australia (Hetzel et al., 2015, pp. 370-381). The major contributing factor for people health in this group are remoteness, lack of trust in health resources due to cultural norms, poor access to quality health care and negative social attitude.
Health risk of the socioeconomically disadvantaged population of Australia is affected by environmental, social factors and health behaviors in this group. Inequalities in the social determinant of health are the primary reason for exposure to health risk in this group. The social and emotional well-being of this group has been compromised due to the presence of discrimination, physical health problem, unresolved trauma, violence, substance abuse and socio-economic factors like inadequate housing, income and employment (Bryant et al., 2013). A survey on a socioeconomically disadvantaged group of Australia suggested that indigenous group of Australia are more likely to suffer from high level of psychological distress as they experience more stressful situations in society (Amarasena et al., 2015). The socioeconomically disadvantaged groups are mainly refugees and they are separated from society due to their culture. They engage in gambling, substance abuse and have poor family relationship. The major stressors encountered in this age group are chronic illness, alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness, unemployment and death of family member. They also suffer injuries in their life due to assault, self-harm, environmental injuries and accidents. Certain factors in this group of people increase risk of injury due to cultural disruption, risky behavior, living in remote areas and limited access to health and support services. The health services are not user-friendly for disadvantaged people, and they do not consider their cultural aspects while delivering care to them. Even if appropriate service is available, they are not able to use it because they cannot afford the expensive health cost (Barnes et al., 2013).
The environmental factors that affect the health of the socioeconomically disadvantaged group of Australia are inadequate water supply, low access to healthy and safe food, improper housing, overcrowding, improper sewage disposal, pollution and poor personal hygiene. In addition to this high quality health service does reach this group due to living in remote locations (Norman et al., 2013). Poor quality of life, poor hygiene many types of disease like cancer, diabetes and communicable disease like AIDS, tuberculosis, etc occurs in this group.
The typical health behaviour that contributes to poor health status in indigenous Australians is health risk behaviors such as poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol consumption, substance abuse and physical inactivity. They also have poor social skills and rich cultural influence because of which they lag behind in health. Their choice of culture, social network, history psychological distress and also affect their health behaviour. The retention of cultural identity poses risk of health to this group of people. Marginalization and racism have influenced the social networks and made communication difficult for health care workers. Prisoners and aged persons in prisons are mostly exposed to infectious disease and this has highly affected their life and lead to death also (Bryant et al., 2013).
Many barriers exist to proper health and health care experience by socioeconomically disadvantaged people in Australia. Firstly they suffer because of lack of affordability and accessibility to health care service. The distribution of health service is not uniform in this group mainly because the number of expert clinician decreases with the remoteness of location in which they live. The presence of health service does not guarantee access to health service because of poor transport available for this population to reach this centre (O'Neill et al., 2014). Besides this, the incidence of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and kidney failure requires a different level of care which this group cannot afford (Ware, 2013, pp. 320-240). This compounded by their low level of income. Besides this, they lack understanding of health issues due to their cultural affinity. Many people in this group do not follow treatment regimen because they feel it is not culturally appropriate for them and does not trust these services. Poor cross-cultural communication is also a factor that affects their health outcome. They are also stereotyped by the society due to their position in society, and they develop fear against the society. Due to illiteracy also they lack insight about understanding of chronic diseases and how to maintain health. Miscommunication also occurs due to the language barrier and has an effect on positive health outcome (O'Neill et al., 2014).
Nurse has an important role in improving the health status of a socioeconomically disadvantaged group of Australia by giving culturally appropriate care to this group. The increase in the cultural competency skill in nurse is also an advantage as it will minimised language and cultural barrier to treatment. This nurse will understand the cultural view of this people and provide nursing care keeping in mind their cultural views. Even if cultural knowledge is not present in nurses, they must learn their language to understand their health concern and provide best nursing care to patient (Clifford et al., 2015). This group of people suffers from a lot of psychological distress due to racism, discrimination, unemployment and violence they face in society. Diagnosis of any chronic disease also affects their motivations and self-esteem. So nurse has to develop empathy with the patients and then plan appropriate interventions for them. Nurses who are culturally competent and plan care according to their belief system will have greater success in providing culturally responsive care with improved outcome (Jeffreys, 2015, pp. 250-254). The nurse must have the skill to interpret their behaviour and gestures. A holistic approach to health care for indigenous Australians will be possible only when nurses include their body, mind and spirit to care for such people. Nurses should have knowledge about their cultural beliefs and practices. As this group has little knowledge about chronic disease and their impact, nurses should make them aware regarding what complications might occur if they leave it untreated. Nurses should be patient and take the time to build rapport with this group of people. They should try to support them and remove their fear of health services by proper interaction and communication (Arnold & Boggs, 2015).
From the report on health issues of a socioeconomically disadvantaged group of Australia, one can conclude that accumulation of several factors has an effect on their overall health status. The detailed report on issues faced by this group shows how they are vulnerable to illness because of high rate of illness, unemployability, discrimination and violence in society (Mares, 2013, pp. 768-783). The report explains how their health has been affected by their cultural views. The specific barrier to high quality health service was identified in this group. Based on the issue faced by this group, explanation of the role of nurse gave an idea regarding what kind of intervention is required in this group.
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