Subject Code and Title
PUBH6000: Social, Behavioural and Cultural Factors in Public Health
Assessment Assessment 1: Report - Social Determinants of Health
This assessment addresses the following learning outcomes: 1. Analyse the impact of social, environmental and behavioural factors on the health of different populations 2. Analyse population health outcomes and the major social, economic, political and cultural forces that contribute to health inequalities
Tobacco, lack of physical activity, a diet high in fats and sugars, hypertension, diabetes and obesity are well-known risk factors for heart disease. Populations with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have increased behavioural risk factors for heart disease, including smoking and lack of physical activity (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2010). Although behavioural risk factors might be evident causes of diseases, public health professionals also consider social and environmental factors that contribute to the social gradient of health.
To prepare for this assignment, choose a population group in Australia (e.g. men/women, low socioeconomic status, rural/remote, people with disabilities/mental illness). Then, in 1500 words, address the following, being sure to include a rationale that justifies your response:
Describe the pattern of heart disease within this population.
Analyse how a social determinants of health approach could be used to explain the patterns of morbidity and mortality for heart disease among this population group when compared to other groups.
Create a public health intervention that addresses a social determinant of health (e.g. work, unemployment, social support, transport, housing, education, access to healthcare).
Describe how you would address the social gradient of health through this public health intervention.
Explain what other sectors would need to be involved aside from the health sector.
Today, with increased challenges of healthcare, it has become necessary for the government and the healthcare organizations to determine the social determinants that are leading to such different disorders (Goto et al., 2013).
It is observed that with the recent changes in the lifestyle, food habits, food consumption patterns, types of food consumed, routine of physical activities, and finally, change in the behaviors of the individuals are directly impacting the health of an individual. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one such disease that involves the heart and blood vessels. Some of the major types of CVDs include - heart failure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, hypertensive heart disease, congenital heart disease, cardities, valvular heart disease, and venous thrombosis (Goto et al., 2013).
Each of these different healthcare issues are caused due to high blood pressure, lack of physical exercise routine, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, consumption of fast food items and several other factors (Goto et al., 2013).
This report will thereby focus on the Australian population that is suffering from heart disease and heart failure issues. It will first identify the pattern of heart disease among the selected population, will then identify social determinants, will identify the role of other sectors, and finally, will provide the public health intervention plan through which the given disorders and other healthcare issues can be controlled in a given environment.
Pattern of Heart Disease within the Population
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to the diseased healthcare condition that involves heart and blood vessels. Hence, there could be occurrences of heart failure or stroke or any other types of heart disease as mentioned among the individuals. As per the research reports, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the major cause of deaths in Australia (Correia et al., 2013).
There are nearly 44,000 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2016, and the figure is still increasing. Thus, on an average, 120 Australians are dying every day due to CVD. Further, as per the reports, CVD accounts for nearly 28% of the total deaths in Australia in 2016, out of which 27% occurred for males and 29% occurred for females.
It was also the main cause for nearly 500,000 hospitalizations that took place during the year 2012-13 (Hansell et al., 2013). Further, one in every six Australian is affected with CVD, thereby accounting for more than 4.3 million Australians. Also, this issue is prevailing more with increase in the age of the individuals in a given community.
As per the reports, Australians of the age 55-64 years are suffering more from CVD condition. Also, people living in regional and remote areas are suffering more from high rates of hospitalization and death resulting from CVD (Hansell et al., 2013). These people also belong to lower socio-economic groups often referred to as Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.
They are suffering from heart attack, heart failure, coronary heart disease, and other such CVD issues. These heart diseases can be prevented but first it important to spread awareness about this issue in a given environment. Second, people need to be made aware of the social and other determinants that are directly impacting on their healthcare issue (Hansell et al., 2013).
They thereby need to take steps to change their lifestyle, food consumption patterns, conduct physical exercise routines, and thereby overcome issues such as CVD in a given environment (Hansell et al., 2013). The healthcare organizations need to provide all types of support to these people belonging to the rural communities so that they will find relatively easy to have access of different healthcare services.
Using social determinants of health approach to explain the patterns of morbidity and mortality for heart disease
Majority of the heart failure reasons include - high blood pressure, heart problems such as valve defects, rhythm disorders, coronary heart disease, changes in life style such as failure to intake preventive medications, diet comprising of excessive salt and fluid intake, alcohol and drug abuse, lung problems, and other medical conditions such as anemia, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, and thyroid disorders (Israel et al., 2014).
It thereby becomes necessary to identify the major cause of heart failure in different case scenarios. It is also noticed that there are different social norms and values that effect on the health of the individual. There are also certain behavioral changes in the healthcare setting and in the personal lifestyle due to which a given person is exposed to such disorders.
Further, as per the governmental reports of Australia, it is found that heart disease is caused due to poverty, low socioeconomic status among the selected target population (Israel et al., 2014). Also, this community is highly exposed to smoking and drinking habits and hence they are more vulnerable to CVD disorders. In addition, people of these communities do not consume food with high nutrition. They are also not subjected to regular physical exercise routine. It thereby makes difficult for them to overcome such disorders (Israel et al., 2014).
There are also other symptoms identified such as - hypertension, diabetes, hyper-cholesterol, lack of physical exercise, low social support, religious and cultural beliefs, and ethnicity due to which these people are not able to live a proper healthy life (Michaëlsson et al., 2013). They are subjected to constant social determinants that will affect their health from different perspectives.
Even, children of these families are suffering from obesity and diabetes at early ages. They lack proper food and nutrition in their daily diet. It is thereby the responsibility of the government and other healthcare organizations to first identify the major factors that are causing this CVD issues among the target population.
Also, the government of Australia needs to make arrangements through which they will be able to supply proper food and nutrition to these people. It will thereby ensure overcoming of these challenges and ensuring proper health of the people of a given community.
Public Health Intervention Plan to address Social Determinant of Health
It is important for the healthcare organizations to first provide necessary medications to the patients suffering from CVD disorders. It will depend on the type of CVD disorders faced by the patients. Some of the treatments will include blood pressure-lowering agents such as diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme, and even blood-thinning medications (Michaëlsson et al., 2013).
In the case of cardiomyopathy, the treatments will include medications that will improve the pumping ability of the heart such as angiotensin II, beta-blockers, and receptor blockers and so on. While in the case of valvular heart disease, treatments will include medications that will open the blood vessels in a given body of the individual.
Hence, he could be provided with cholesterol lowering medications as well as with blood-thinning medications. It will thereby make sure of improving the healthcare situation of the individual. However, from the perspective of social determinants, it is important to make these people aware of the key challenges that they will face while suffering from different heart disorders (Lichtenstein, 2013).
They need to be guided on the aspects of - quit smoking, reduce the risk of heart disease through changing lifestyles, controlling excessive food consumption of fast food items and food items that can increase cholesterol levels, performing physical exercises on a daily basis, and also supporting them with all required resources from the local government and the healthcare organizations.
The healthcare professionals also need to organize workshops through which they will be demonstrating major issues related to heart disease, provide them with treatment solutions through which they will be able improving their current health status, and organizing weekly workshops where they will be inspecting the health of the patients in these rural areas (Lichtenstein, 2013). It will thereby make sure of improving the current health status of these individuals.
The Australian government needs to formulate ways through which they will be focusing on the major social determinants that are affecting the health of these individuals. These include - economic stability, social support, deploying healthcare solutions in association with the healthcare organizations, improving neighborhood environment, and making people aware of these issues. They will thereby take steps to improve their health in this direction (Lichtenstein, 2013).
Role of other Sectors
The role of other sectors will include - the role of government, role of healthcare organizations, role of regulatory authorities that are formulating different healthcare policies, role of insurance companies, role of non-healthcare institutions that want to work in this direction, and other concerned entities. Each of these entities or companies and institutions first need to identify the major challenges faced by these people with their CVD problems (Lichtenstein, 2013). The role of the government will be to make arrangements for providing fresh and healthy food to these people.
It will make sure that these people are changing their food habits and will consume highly nutritious food in their daily diet. Second, the role of the non-healthcare organizations will be to organize seminars and workshops and make these people aware of the major challenges of the CVD disorders (Lichtenstein, 2013).
They can also provide them with treatment plans as well as new routine approaches that will assist these people in overcoming the given CVD disorders. Further, the role of the regulatory agencies should be to revise the existing policies and also formulate new policies that will address the needs of these people (Bell et al., 2013).
The role of the non-healthcare organizations is to make them perform physical exercises on a daily basis. Also, along with the Australian government they need to find ways through which they will be able to create employment opportunities for these people. It will thereby make sure of improving the livelihood of these people; also, they will become more aware of such issues and will start taking steps toward improving their health on a personal basis.
The healthcare professionals along with the regulatory authorities need to revise the policy structure and provide insurance support to these people. It will thereby first provide proper insurance coverage for the medical expenses (Bell et al., 2013); second, the revise in the current policies will provide all types of medical support to these people.
It will thereby help these people overcome the major heart disease issues that they were suffering from. In addition, the government needs to monitor the different policies, strategies, and other mechanisms deployed in this direction (Tedstone & Pyne, 2013). They can thereby modify them by providing necessary recommendations wherever required.
This report discusses about the social determinants that could affect the health of the individual from different perspectives. With recent increase in the healthcare challenges, it has become necessary for the government and the healthcare organizations to take steps in this direction.
As per the reports identified, majority of the rural population in Australia are suffering from different types of CVD disorders. Hence, it is important to first determine the major root factors due to which these healthcare problems have increased in a given environment. It is identified that the major social determinants such as - socioeconomic characteristics, culture, income status, social support, education, working conditions, biology and genetics, availability of health services, and personal health agenda are affecting on the health of an individual from different perspectives (Brown et al., 2013).
This report has identified those challenges and has demonstrated how it can effect on the life of an individual. The report has thereby provided recommendations and prepares a public health intervention plan through which they will be addressing different social determinants of health. It will thereby assist this target population to overcome the challenges of CVD disorder and will also improve their current lifestyle to make sure that they remain healthy in future as well.