Vulnerable Populations and Healthcare Quality

One of the most important principles of healthcare is to provide accessible and effective medical services to all groups of the population. At the same time, this task can be challenging for medical workers, because there are certain groups of patients that require a particular approach. These groups are referred to as vulnerable populations, which implies that they are highly susceptible to health problems due to their economic and social background, physical or psychological condition, or other factors. Today, much attention is paid to how the needs of these individuals can be met.

First, medical workers need to understand that certain susceptible groups, in particular, homeless people, immigrants, and refugees, or racial minorities may have little to no access to healthcare. For example, according to de Chesnay and Anderson (2019), African-American, very young, and poorly educated women are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care. Therefore, to serve these groups of the population, hospitals need to develop public health nursing. Medical workers and policy-makers need to make sure that marginalized people or patients living in deprived areas can find and pay for healthcare.

Besides, understanding the social, physical, and psychological background of individuals may help identify their possible health problems. For example, homeless people are vulnerable to violence and are likely to suffer from chronic diseases (de Chesnay & Anderson, 2019). In abusive families, children may be at risk of sexual abuse; mentally ill people are likely to exhibit suicide-prone behavior. People belonging to different cultures may face difficulties connected with language limitations, food choices, and health practices (de Chesnay & Anderson, 2019). Therefore, to provide healthcare to these groups, their special needs should be taken into consideration. Nurses’ education, policy development, and enforcement, official health statistics, and reports may help medical workers guarantee high-quality care for every individual.

Addressing the needs of vulnerable populations is not the only task of healthcare providers. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), medical services of high quality are safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable (LoBiondo-Wood et al., 2018). These six aims define directions, in which healthcare should be improved. In this paper, the most important factors of high-quality medical care are presented and discussed in detail.

Certain factors define if these requirements of healthcare system performance are fully met. Safety implies that medical care is intended to help the community and guarantee overall well-being. Patients should not be susceptible to any injuries or health deterioration. Effectiveness means that medical services should be based on reliable scientific knowledge and that the main goal of healthcare is the benefit for the community. Patient-centeredness is another essential factor, which implies that the priority of healthcare is the well-being and comfort of every patient. Healthcare institutions need to reduce the waiting time of patients and make medical services as timely as possible. Avoiding waste of equipment, resources, and ideas is the factor ensuring the efficiency of medical care. Finally, all patients need to be provided with equal services regardless of their gender, ethnicity, social or economic background (LoBiondo-Wood et al., 2018). These factors are considered the indicators of healthcare quality improvement.

In conclusion, to improve the quality of healthcare services, it is necessary to consider six significant factors, which require medical institutions to control and constantly improve different aspects of healthcare. Various methods, such as statistical data and reports, are used to measure the compliance of medical care to the principles presented above. However, the satisfaction and well-being of patients is the most important characteristic of high-quality, patient-centered healthcare.


De Chesnay, M., & Anderson, B. (2019). Caring for the vulnerable (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

LoBiondo-Wood, G., Judith Haber, J., & Titler, M.G. (2018). Evidence-based practice for nursing and healthcare quality improvement. Elsevier Health Sciences.