African-American Health Care Needs

African-American Health Care Needs


In the contemporary medical world, many existent health care initiatives target to enhance equality and equity among all races. Such is the case given their reliance on WHO directive for Healthy People by the year 2020. However, health care disparities exist among the various races, with the Black race being the most disadvantaged of them all. The cultural distinctness of this race is the sole reason for their heightened disadvantage. The situation is even worse in the developed countries such as the USA where many African-Americans have made it their home. The identified main health care needs that are unique to this group of people are physical health needs, rehabilitative and education. Also, in an attempt to explain this phenomenon, the study brings forth the transcultural nursing theory, which illustrates the strategies that nurses may adopt to incorporate the cultural preference of the African-American persons.

Keywords: African-American, Transcultural Nursing, Cultural distinctness




African-American Health Care Needs

In the contemporary medical world, many existent health care initiatives target to enhance equality and equity among all races. Such is the case given their reliance on WHO directive for Healthy People by the year 2020. However, health care disparities exist among the various races, with the Black race being the most disadvantaged of them all. The situation is even worse in the developed countries such as the USA where many African-Americans have made it their home. A case of this kind necessitates to a shift in focus of the health care system so that it can incorporate strategies that will facilitate meeting the needs of the African-Americans.  By so doing, this will ensure that achievement of equity and equality in the health care system is imminent than ever before. Of the significance to this formulation is the transcultural nursing theory by Madeleine Leininger. In this theory, nurses can gain new insights concerning cultural perspective of different persons seeking their services. That said, an analysis of health care needs of the African-American individuals using the concepts of Madeleine Leininger’s Transcultural Nursing theory is the central idea of this discussion. In light of such needs, there are high chances of instituting of a plan of care that will meet this group of persons’ needs in an equitable and equal manner.

To begin with, an explanation of the transcultural nursing theory by Madeleine Leininger is of the essence in understanding the specific needs of various groups of persons, especially in this case the African-Americans. According to her, cultural knowledge plays a prominent role in addressing the health care needs of patients and thus the importance of understanding and appreciating different cultures. She defined transcultural nursing as the comparison of different cultures with the aim of drawing commonalities and specifics that a patient’s culture constitutes. With such comparison, the nurse can come up with a culture-sensitive approach that will respect the beliefs and values of the patient. In this theory, she proposes three nursing models that a nurse may utilize when dealing with persons of different cultures. The first model is the cultural care preservation, which facilitates the safeguarding of people’s culture. Secondly, a nurse may use negotiation model also known as cultural care accommodation. Such a model enables persons of other culture to adapt to a new culture. Finally, a restructuring model or a culture care repatterning that helps the client or the patient to rearrange or remodel own way of living for new and beneficial health care patterns (Purnell, 2012).

That said, identification of the African-Americans health care needs is the next step in further understanding their cultural distinctness as a group. Firstly and most importantly, the African-Americans face the challenge of obesity and diabetes due to conforming to poor dietary habits. Suboptimal diet among this section of the population is responsible for these significant health care problems. A case in point is the high consumption of fast foods and junks that have contributed to the high prevalence rates of obesity among the African-American persons as compared to the White Americans. The key driver of this dependence on fast foods is the inability to buy food due to poverty. Consequently, such a practice results in African-American persons presenting to the hospitals with the health care need of relieving the harsh effects of obesity and chronic illnesses such as diabetes (Abeysekara, Turchi, & O’Neil, 2014). Evidently, this is proof enough of the diverse nature of the health care needs of African-Americans as compared to other groups of persons.

Furthermore, this group of individuals also has the medical need for maintaining good physical health. Such is the case given the high predisposition to various conditions such as cardiovascular disorders like hypertension. The reason for this high risk is their genetic make-up and their places of origins, which may be endemic for certain diseases (Non, Gravlee, &Mulligan, 2012).  With such a possibility, the admission of African-Americans with ill health due to conditions like this one further point out on the need for physical health for this population. As such, a nurse must, therefore, elicit the possibility of occurrence of poor physical health through the collection of a comprehensive past medical and family history of a patient affiliated to this race. Clearly, with the citation of high predisposition in African-American with poor physical health, it is logical to deduce that maintenance of physical health is a medical need necessary for this group of individuals.

That notwithstanding, the black Americans also have the need for health education. Such is the case given the high prevalence rates of preventable conditions among this section of the population. For instance, the existence of obesity and diabetes in these persons brings to question their knowledge about lifestyle changes (Leonard, 2013). Moreover, increased number of new HIV/AIDS cases is another factor that indicates the urgent need for health education services among such communities. With such educative strategies in place, promotion of these person’s awareness about this conditions and strategies for their preventions. Health education adopted, however, must take into consideration the restructuring model proposed in the transcultural theory. Such a model will facilitate the African-American adopt new ways of doing things that are beneficial in preventing illnesses.

Another health care need is rehabilitation due to the problem substance and drug abuse among the black Americans. The African-American communities are characteristic of drugs and substance abuse in comparison with the White person society. As such, this has led to many of the individuals requiring rehabilitative services following addiction. Compounding this challenge further is the mental health problem that comes with long-term abuse of drugs and substance (Coker et. al., 2013). Thus, the health care facilities must devise strategies that will ensure such services are present for these persons. However, failure to do so, only worsen the health care disparity between this section of the population and other existent groups.

Together with that, the African-American persons face the challenge of psychological distress, and thereby they come to the hospital with the need for mental care. Such is the case given their susceptibility to poverty. Their vulnerability to this challenge becomes apparent through the incidences of suicides due to loss of hope among the African-Americans. For instance, according to a recent statistic, the proportion of the black persons with a feeling of hopelessness was higher than that of White compatriots (National Center for Health Statistics, 2016). In light of such a statistic, it is precise to say that the African-American have the need for psychological care.

Prenatal care is another need that African-Americans must receive from the medical institutions. A case in point of the importance of such a provision is the high number of infants dying due to the poor prenatal health of pregnant mothers. A befitting example of this phenomenon is evident in the worrying statistic that demonstrates the likelihood of two African-American infants to die as compared to one White baby. One primary reason for such a probability is the reluctance of African-American to visit the hospital before, during and post childbirth (Mathews, MacDorman, & Thoma, 2015). Evidently, with such a high rate of infant mortality, it is indisputable that prenatal care is an essential element of care that African-Americans must receive with immediacy.

Finally, addressing the identified healthcare needs require earning the trust of the African-American persons, which is difficult due to their reliance on cultural beliefs and values. A case in point of their distrust in medical services is their reluctance to visit the hospital for screening and treatment due to their belief that such interventions have ill motives (Moore et. al., 2013). As such, there is a need for a rethink in the approach in which this section of the population can be reached out by the nurse and other health care professionals. Central to the success in addressing their issues is the understanding of their culture and modeling care in a way that incorporates their beliefs. Ideally, such an action is what Madeleine Leininger proposes in her transcultural theory. Thus, with the proper utilization of this theory, African-Americans’ trust in medical services is inevitable.

In closure, indeed, dealing with an African-American person is not one of the easiest tasks given their cultural distinctness as a group. Such is apparent through their identified health care needs. However, using the transcultural nursing theory to comprehend their cultures makes it easy to address these challenges. Thus, nurses must show their willingness to understand the health care needs of the African-Americans in a non-judgmental manner if they are to succeed in assessing and attending to their needs.













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