Vulnerable populations in healthcare – Term Paper

At risk groups for poor health and the vulnerable population

A group at risk for poor health differs from the vulnerable population in various ways. Vulnerable population is a subgroup of a population that has a possibility of developing health problems because of subjection to risks or has worse outcomes from health problems as compared to the rest of population (Stanhope and Lancaster, 2015). Many variables interact and form a potent combination of factors which predispose persons in this group to illness. Examples of the vulnerable population which are a concern to healthcare providers include the homeless, individuals with disabilities, pregnant teens, people who abuse addictive substances and persons with HIV as well those with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The group at risk for poor health, on the other hand, has a particular risk factor or identifiable exposure that poses a danger to health. People in this group can easily develop adverse health conditions because of exposure to a risk factor.  Examples of people in this group are smokers who are in danger of developing lung cancer or overweight adults who are at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vulnerable populations in healthcare cases

Vulnerable population and group at risk are likely to face challenges and therefore lack support from family, friends or the society because they are likely to have a low education level, face discrimination, poor integration into the labor market and own few assets. Sammarco (2016) agrees that few supportive social contact places then at risk. The members of these groups each have particular challenges in advocating for themselves. Those living with HIV and pregnant teens, for instance, do not come out because they are stigmatized in the society because of their status. The elderly are facing declined health while the physically challenged cannot participate in the society because of physical and social barriers. All these factors make them unable to advocate for themselves and hence do not have access to a wide range of facilities.

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The people in these groups require support in some of the crucial areas such as income support through the expansion of pension contribution and increased social services such as basic housekeeping. They also need advocacy in better access to medical services because some may refuse recommended medical assistance, poor adherence to treatment regimens and may delay in seeking medical care. Advocating for these groups should also include the call for the provision of more healthcare providers and equipping of the existing health facilities so that they can access medical care, enhance referral tests, receive specialized care and surgery. Finally, advocating for support groups is another significant thing that these groups need.


Sammarco, A. (2016). Women’s Health Issues Across the Life Cycle. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2015). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community. Elsevier Health Sciences.