NRSG 312 Discussion Social Determinants of Health

NRSG 312 Discussion Social Determinants of Health

NRSG 312 Discussion Social Determinants of Health

Inequitable access to primary health care markedly contributes to increased disparities in healthcare. This state is brought about by social determinants of health factors that create vulnerability among various communities within the population. The vulnerable population is individuals who are susceptible to risks due to physical, mental, or social disadvantages (Ferreira et al., 2021). The vulnerable population includes individuals with mental or physical disabilities, the elderly, children, immigrants, indigenous people, people of lower socioeconomic status, those living in rural regions, and cultural minorities among others (Dahrouge et al., 2019). The vulnerable population is predisposed to social exclusion and marginalization with consequent adverse outcomes such as limited access to healthcare services.

 Various factors determine an individual’s vulnerability status. They generally include social, cultural, economic, political, health system, and educational factors (Ferreira et al., 2021). Other individual characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, poverty, unemployment, low education or health literacy level, indigenous origin, disability, migration, and conditions like HIV/AIDS can also shape a population’s vulnerability (Tangcharoensathien et al., 2018). These attributes should not be overlooked especially by healthcare providers when providing care to these individuals. Recognition of these factors is the basis for legislative processes and policies aimed at bridging the gap in health disparities.

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Various community resources and services have been put in place to help the vulnerable population. The most fundamental resource for mitigating barriers to healthcare access due to social vulnerability is hospital-community partnerships through collaborative efforts between the community, community health workers, and social workers (Carter et al., 2022). Community health workers and social workers coordinate activities such as elder services, housing assistance, basic needs assistance, transport services, employment opportunities, application for insurance or benefits, and reconnection of patients with primary healthcare providers to ensure continuity of care (Carter et al., 2022). These activities effectively address the unmet medical and social needs of the vulnerable population. Funding, grants, and allocation of more resources may be needed to improve these community resources and services.


Carter, J., Hassan, S., & Walton, A. (2022). Meeting the needs of vulnerable primary care patients without COVID-19 infections during the pandemic: Observations from a community health worker lens. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, 13, 215013192110676.

Dahrouge, S., Gauthier, A., Chiocchio, F., Presseau, J., Kendall, C., Lemonde, M., Chomienne, M.-H., Perna, A., Toal-Sullivan, D., Devlin, R. A., Timony, P., & Prud’homme, D. (2019). Access to resources in the Community Through Navigation: Protocol for a mixed-methods feasibility study. JMIR Research Protocols, 8(1).

Ferreira, J. B., Santos, L. L., Ribeiro, L. C., Rodrigues Fracon, B. R., & Wong, S. (2021). Vulnerability and primary health care: An integrative literature review. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, 12, 215013272110497.

Tangcharoensathien, V., Mills, A., Das, M. B., Patcharanarumol, W., Buntan, M., & Johns, J. (2018). Addressing the health of vulnerable populations: Social Inclusion and universal health coverage. Journal of Global Health, 8(2).