Social assessment is a key part of individual and community assessment. Understanding the link between lifestyle behaviors and choices, socioeconomic status, and health can assist nurses and health care professionals in identifying wellness concerns and devising realistic plans for intervention.
Review the multimedia presentation Social Assessment/Analysis Framework. Based on your knowledge, information from the presentation, research in the Capella library and the Internet, and your own experience, describe the relevance of social assessment in health care planning, particularly for high-risk populations.
Your initial post should be at least 150 words and have at least one APA-formatted reference.
These entry points offer a starting point for the construction of a social assessment.
Level of Assessment
There are a series of questions that a nursing professional must ask to assess the level of the patient during a social assessment:
- Age, gender, address, type of work, ethnicity, culture, religion, marital status, next of kin.
- Smoking/Drinking habits.
- Is client stigmatized because of health problems?
- Does the clients’ health problem affect his/her social and economic role in society?
- Do the clients health problems lead to greater need for social, economic and other support?
- Is there discrimination in terms of access to resources such as health care, housing, job opportunities, etc?
- Does the client engage in any illegal activity and does he/she suffer as a consequence?
- Are there consequences for their interpersonal relations with family and friends?
- How do community norms affect the social consequences of health behavior?
- What is the influence of community settings?
- How are communities affected by the health problem or behavior?
- What are the social consequences for families?
- What are the social consequences for other people and the wider community?
- What is the social impact of local and national policies on the client?
- Is the client subject to special legal or other interventions because of his/her health problem, behavior or status?
- Is the client offered special additional support and welfare benefits?
- What is the impact of the social, economic and legal environment on the client?
- What is the significance of public attitudes on the health problem or the population group?
Stakeholders are essentially the individual or groups of individuals within society who are subject to the process of health assessment. Stakeholders include:
- Healthcare consumers.
All societies comprise a range of socially diverse groupings. The health status of individuals and groups can be directly linked to a number of these factors:
- Social class.
- Ethnicity, culture and religion.
When using participation as a dimension of social assessment, you need to examine the extent to which individuals or social groups can and do participate in the development of potential health plans constructed in collaboration with healthcare professionals.
Social assessment is more than considering the available health-related resources, but also recognizing and enhancing the capability of people to access the available resources. The role of the nurse in comprehensive social assessment is to determine which assets and capabilities are present and which are lacking.
A comprehensive assessment of health would need to encompass an analysis of the relationship between organizations and institutions within the community; that is, the formal and informal rules of the important relationships played out in societies that influence the health of the community.
An appreciation of all the agencies and institutions involved in the provision of health and social care is essential for the nursing considering the assessment of patients.
All health assessments and consequent actions have inherent risks attached for all the stakeholders. Five risk categories are:
- Vulnerability—healthcare professionals may already be dealing with individuals or groups who are classed as vulnerable or at risk.
- Community risk—These types of risks could include patients with severe and mental illness (risk of social exclusion); Specific environmental factors (high density or poor housing).
- Institutional risk—All assessors need to have a clear understanding about the services that may be required for a patient.
- Iatrogenic risk—This is a risk related to problems generated by the professional intervention itself.
- Political-economic risk—Risks to consider with this category are: major disasters (Chernobyl, 9/11, etc.), scapegoating ethnic groups (terrorist threats, etc.) and advances of science (greenhouse gas emissions, water fluoridization, use of pesticides, etc.).
- Crouch, A. & Meurier, C. (2005). Health Assessment. Malden, MA: Blackwell.