When planning for a community for health or any other matter, steps include the same thought process as what a nurse will do daily when treating a patient in the hospital environment. Community nurses will gather, work with other key figures, like mayors, county board members, and other pertinent health care official in the community. There should be a process with organization and input.
The process does not have to be in order of any one proposed plan, but should be compiled into a logical process upon its completion. Each member can take portions of the plan to gather the data needed to accurately define the community and develop the care plan. According to Maurer and Smith, the steps include, “assessment, diagnosis, validation,
prioritization of needs, identification of the target population, identification
of the planning group, establishment of the program goal, identification of
possible solutions, matching solutions with at-risk aggregates, identification of
resources, selection of the best intervention strategy, delineation of expected
outcomes, delineation of the intervention work plan, planning for program
evaluation” (2013, p. 432)
The information gathered will be more in depth than the quick observation one makes as they travel through communities headed to other communities. Did you realize this? We make mental thoughts, which may only be during the trip about how nice certain communities are as we pass by. On your way to the mall, have you seen people out in their yards mowing or getting into their vehicles? Have you analyzed their house? Compare their house to yours?
A modern-day community in the United States provides its members with the basics of food/water and shelter. Food should be available, easily accessible, and affordable for all citizens. Drinking water should meet minimum standards for potability. Affordable housing should be available regardless of income. A health community provides all of this and so much more. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides guidelines for designing a healthy community (“Healthy community,” August 13, 2013). Easily available food should include affordable fresh produce, healthy and/or organic options in grocery stores and limited numbers of liquor stores, convenience stores and fast food restaurants. Community gardens and Farmers’ Markets enhance food choices. Drinking water should exceed minimum standards for potability and functional sewage systems are standard in all housing areas. Clean air and soil free from toxins allow individuals to maintain health within the community. Outdoor spaces that promote physical activity and socialization contribute to the overall health of a neighborhood. These can include greenspaces, playgrounds, water parks and bike trails. Community sponsored activities like holiday parades promote a sense of inclusion. Safety is essential in a healthy neighborhood and can include basics such as adequate lighting, traffic control signs and lights, and sidewalks and bike lanes. Adequate police, fire, and rescue personnel for the community’s population is essential for a healthy sense of safety. Citizen patrol and neighborhood watch groups provide additional opportunities for inclusion.
I live in Rowlett, a small town within Dallas County. Rowlett is a healthy community as defined by the CDC criteria. The city, with a population of approximately 62,000, has won numerous awards including #3 Safest Place in Texas with a population > 50,000 by ValuePenguin in 2016, and # 33 of Top 50 Best Small City to Move to by Movoto in 2015 (City of Rowlett website, 2017). Other neighborhoods in Dallas, unfortunately, do not fare nearly as well. Some parts of the city are considered a “Food Desert”, meaning there are no grocery stores within the area limits. Residents must rely on overpriced convenience stores which generally contain little to no fresh foods. Due to high crime rates in these areas, no grocery store chains are willing to risk placing a store in these locations. The health disparity within the city is overwhelming. Children in these areas rely heavily on subsidized school lunches to provide basic nutrition (City of Dallas website, 2017). I would provide care in a community such as this by starting with a health assessment of the community and assist with obtaining services for those that qualify.