In the past, Trinity Community Hospital has conducted community health needs assessment to establish health related needs of the community. The process entails continuous improvement of the plan depending on the dynamic nature of health needs in the community (Nardi & Petr, 2003).
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After sometime therefore, there has emerged the need for appraising the initial assessment in order to improve the overall plan in line with the current needs of the patients within the community. This is a community health needs assessment that seeks to point out and discuss some of the major health risk factors of the community.
Besides, the paper will elucidate on ways that Trinity Community Hospital is addressing the needs discussed. Finally, the establishment of the existing health gaps will provide an important background upon which health planners in the hospital will draw recommendations.
Discussion: Major Health and Risk Factors
It is apparent in the case study that there are major risk factors that impede Trinity Hospital’s ability to address the community health needs. First, there is an increased demand for oncology services across the entire community. Coupled with the fact that the seniors will constitute 15% of the entire community’s population, the demand is poised to rise dramatically.
Besides, health experts estimate that cancer will develop amongst 50% of the male population throughout their lifetimes. For women, they have a slightly lower chance of developing cancer that stands at around 33%. Subsequently, there is an increased risk of more cancer patients in the immediate future leading to heightened demand for oncology services across the entire area.
While the above figures reveal the increasing demand for the services, the existing facilities remain hugely unable to address the growing demand. The rationale is that different facilities that provide the services are unable to match the need for the services.
The patients are increasing exponentially with a level that can rarely be addressed by the current capacity of health providers. This implies that in future, the community faces a huge risk where the number of patients will be so large that the facilities will be overwhelmed. In particular, the facilities to diagnose and treat cancer at an early stage have been unable to meet this demand.
Sensitization and information dissemination has been ineffective with only few programs initiated to fulfill these goals. As such, lack of appropriate information regarding ways in which an individual can get early diagnoses creates a gap that further complicates the treatment procedure since the diagnosis is usually delayed. Besides, late cancer diagnosis stresses the capacity of the hospital’s facilities despite reduced probability for recovery and successful treatment.
There is an increasing need for orthopedic services within the community. Orthopedic services include services that aim at treating the physical injuries such as spine and joints dislocations. At the outset, the community faces a surge in the numbers of people seeking both inpatients and outpatient orthopedic services.
They include joint and spine procedures that estimates indicate that there will be a rise of 30% in the coming half a decade. Despite these numbers, the current facilities will not be able to meet the health needs of the community members seeking orthopedic services. This is in consideration of the fact that the financial resources at the disposal of hospitals are meager.
Coupled with the inability of the hospital facilities to offer orthopedic services, the number of physicians across the entire country can barely match that of patients. Such facilities as imaging equipment, surgical suites, physical therapy, and rehab facilities are apparently inadequate to cater for patients needs.
This is not only in the community but also across the whole country. Besides, the existing services have deficiencies and are not effective, as the community would wish to see. Such professionals as patient care coordinators are lacking in many facilities leading to delays in scheduling of service provision.
Finally, the community lacks information on the important aspects of orthopedic services. Ideally, there are limited numbers of educational programs that aim at enhancing knowledge on accident prevention, healthy lifestyles, service providers and the orthopedic procedures. Besides, the few available programs should target the elderly and majority of the people within the community that participates in the fitness activities and athletics.
The rising demand for both orthopedic and oncology services imply that there is an expected increase in the demand for cardiovascular services within the community. An estimated rise of 21% in the rates of coronary artery diseases is apparent. Besides, the number of people seeking diagnostic cardiovascular services within the community is expected to increase by around 22% while angioplasties will increase by 25% within the same period.
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Like in other primary services areas, there is the need for additional facilities and health care providers to deliver high quality services to the patients. The rationale is that the current resources and equipments are way below the demand for similar services. It would imply therefore that the community suffers inadequacies for cath labs’ services, surgical suites as well as the cardiac rehab capacity.
The gap that health care providers should seek to bridge entails the provision of information on cardiac risk factors and information regarding healthy living and lifestyle. There is a noticeable lack of information in the community, which may predispose the people to cardiovascular diseases. This inturn may lead to an increased demand for the services more than before.
Trinity Community Hospital and community Health Needs
It is imperative to notice that the hospital has gone outside its way to address some of the needs of the community. Particularly, Trinity Community Hospital has increased its collaboration with oncologists that have received certification from the board. Although it lacks a formal oncology department, the hospital has attempted to address these needs by liaising with the physicians to treat and diagnose cancer.
Nonetheless, the numbers of physicians that are available to meet all the demands of the patients are very few. In fact, a few cancer specialists have continued to maintain privileges in the hospital. Considering that the demand for health services continue to rise, there is the need for the hospital to increase its capacity to deal with the imminent increase in the number of patients seeking oncology services.
Further, the hospital rarely meets the needs of the community members seeking orthopedic services. Like oncology services, there is no a formal department within the hospital that address the needs of the community.
However, the hospital’s competitors who are located near the hospital’s orthopedic groups address the needs of the community. This makes it impossible for the hospital to have fulltime orthopedic specialists whose surgeries are occasional. It is therefore critical for the hospital to increase its activities especially those that relate to orthopedic operations within the area.
Moreover, the hospital has not been proactive in making cardiology services available to the community. The hospital lacks any formal program that deals with cardiovascular diseases. It hugely depends on the consultancy services offered by four cardiologists who have limited roles. Their current roles include consulting for physicians in the aim of addressing the needs of the patients that are already admitted in the hospital.
Apparently, the hospital lacks elaborate facilities and equipments that would provide cardiology services to the community. Trinity hospital has no a diagnostic “cath” and as such, it embarks on ordering noninvasive studies. They include echocardiograms, “holter” monitoring and stress tests. The community therefore fails to see the hospital as effective in addressing their needs that relate to cardiology services.
The hospital has the ability of offering basic support services to the community. First, the hospital has over 20 operating rooms that include an Emergency Room (ER) services. Additionally, the physical and radiology services are readily available within the facility. For patients requiring orthopedic, oncology or cardiology services, the hospital is well equipped to offer support services although there remains a gap in the number of physicians and complex curative services.
The major risk that faces the community involves the inability of the members to access information that relates to many medical conditions. There is an information gap in the society. People lack the information that relates to diagnoses and treatment of cancer, injuries and cardiovascular diseases.
The hospital still lacks an elaborate sensitization and information dissemination strategy through which members of the community can access most basic information mainly for preventive care. The hospital is yet to embark on a preventive care services that amplify the importance of early diagnoses of cancer, healthy living and services location.
According to health care experts, an early diagnosis boosts the chances of the patient to access early treatment, which can be highly effective (Nardi & Petr, 2003). In fact, it is dependent on the amount of information that community accesses. Similarly, preventive care would hugely focus on the health lifestyles and ways that people can minimize their risk factors.
Finally, Trinity Community hospital also suffers immensely from diminished financial resources. To accomplish all its goals of providing health care services to the community, huge amount of finances is required. The financial constraints have resulted from high levels of competition from other hospitals within the community that are able to provide health care services comfortably as opposed to Trinity Community Hospital.
Needs assessment plan and recommendations
To address the needs of the communities effectively, it is important for Trinity Community Hospital to embark on a strategy that depicts both short term and long-term goals. First, there is the apparent need to include oncology services as short-term objectives. The number of people seeking such services has soared and the demand for such services is expected to rise exponentially in the period of five years.
Hence, the group that is composed of both medical and radiation oncologists should be the key to developing an elaborate cancer program within the facility.
This implies that the hospital will be able to offer oncology services in the coming days without having to delay, as there are oncologists who have already expressed interest of affiliation. On the other hand, long-term efforts of establishing a cancer program ought to incorporate hospital’s oncologists and effective equipment that will go a long way in facilitating the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Second, orthopedic services are rarely offered in the hospital. The rationale has been that the hospital’s orthopedic groups are located within the same area as the competitors. To avert the risk of high competition, the hospital ought to establish these orthopedic branches across the community.
This will reduce the risk of centralization of orthopedic services in one and the only branch. By decentralizing the services, the community will appreciate the hospital’s desire to address their needs since the branches will devolve the services (Bosworth, 1999). As a long-term measure of addressing community orthopedic services needs, the hospital ought to establish a program that will deal with all orthopedic issues within the community. It is apparent that the hospital lacks such a department.
Third, the hospital needs to introduce a cardiology program, which is evidently lacking. Despite the hospital’s ability to have four cardiologists, their current roles are ineffective. As aforementioned, the cardiologists only consult on behalf of the inpatients only.
As such, the hospital needs start a program that has well qualified cardiologists and increase their equipment to include diagnostic “cath” among many others. Besides, the hospital should be willing to ensure that it is able to conduct noninvasive studies instead of ordering services from other service providers. This will dispel the perception that the hospital is unable to provide high quality services in comparison with its competitors.
Finally, all these programs should be focusing on preventive care. As noted, there is an apparent information gap within the community. All the departments should engage in a rigorous activity of ensuring that information that relates to oncology, cardiology and orthopedic is disseminated to the community.
Besides, there is the need for the community to embrace healthy living as the most important way through which their needs will be addressed.
All these efforts will see the hospital increase its revenue base that has largely been constrained. As Bosworth (1999) elucidates, the hospital should be wary that the efforts require immense resources and the goals may not be realized in the immediate future. As such, there should be both short term and long-term goals in the strategy that will see the establishment of at least three programs.
Conclusively, Trinity Community Hospital is located in a society that has many health needs. Community health needs assessment elucidate the community has four major needs that the hospital has failed to address. First, the society lacks access to oncology services that includes cancer diagnoses and treatment. Second, orthopedic services are offered in only one branch that fails to meet the needs of the community due to competition.
Third, cardiology services remain elusive for the community. Despite the apparent lack for these services, demand for these services have increased exponentially and continue to increase. As a strategy, the hospital ought to establish departments that deal with these services. This will not only help in addressing the community needs but will play a big role in enhancing information dissemination in the society about preventive care.
Bosworth, W. (1999). Community Health Needs Assessment: The Health Care Profession’s Guide to Evaluating the Needs in Your Defined Market. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Nardi, D. & Petr, J. (2003). Community health and Wellness assessment: a step-by-step Guide. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.