Process of Community Assessment

Nursing homework help: Defining the Community

Your community can be a pediatric, adolescence, young adults, adult, elderly or a combination.

Clearly delineate the following dimensions before starting the process of community assessment:

Describe the population that is being assessed?
What is/are the race(s) of this population within the community?
Are there boundaries of this group? If so, what are they?
Does this community exist within a certain city or county?
Are there general characteristics that separate this group from others?
Education levels, birth/death rates, age of deaths, insured/uninsured?
Where is this group located geographically…? Urban/rural?
Why is a community assessment being performed? What purpose will it serve?
How will information for the community assessment be collected?
Assessment

After the community has been defined, the next phase is assessment. The following items describe several resources and methods that can be used to gather and generate data. These items serve as a starting point for data collection. This is not an all-inclusive list of resources and methods that may be used when a community assessment is conducted.

The time frame for completion of the assessment may influence which methods are used. Nonetheless, these items should be reviewed to determine what information will be useful to collect about the community that is being assessed. It is not necessary to use all of these resources and methods; however, use of a variety of methods is helpful when one is exploring the needs of a community.

Data Gathering (collecting information that already exists)

Demographics of the Community

When demographic data are collected, it is useful to collect data from a variety of levels so comparisons can be made.
If the population that is being assessed is located within a specific setting, it may be best to contact that agency to retrieve specific information about that population.

America’s Health Rankings—this website provides information about various health indicators for each state: https://www.americashealthrankings.org/

Data Generation (data are developed that do not already exist):

Windshield Surveys

With the use of public transportation or by driving a vehicle around the community, one can observe common characteristics of the community.

Examples of key observations to make when one is assessing the community through a windshield survey include the following:

Age of the homes in the community
Location of parks and other recreational areas
Amount of space between homes and businesses
Neighborhood hangouts
Transportation in the community
Quality and safety of streets and sidewalks
Stores and other businesses
People out in the community
Cleanliness of the community
Billboards or other media displays
Places of worship
Healthcare facilities
Participant Observation

Spend time observing the population that is being assessed. Through observation of interactions among group members, much can be learned about the community, including the following:

Developmental level of the population
Effectiveness of peer-to-peer interactions
Respect for peers and others
Safety in the environment
Economic status
Informant Interviews

Informants could be people who are familiar with and interact with the population on a regular basis.

Examples of questions that may be asked of key informants include the following:

Strengths/assets of the community
Areas of improvement for the community
Concerns of community members
Access to health care
Emergency plans for natural or man-made disasters
Focus Groups

Focus groups (usually small groups of 6-12 people) can be helpful when one is gathering information about specific areas of concern within the population. Use of a focus group involves open dialogue about the population, whereas an interview or survey yields only individual responses.

Focus groups may be effective for assessing the following:
Satisfaction with services provided
Community resources used
Transportation issues within the community
Safety within the community
General concerns of members of the population
Surveys

Surveys may be used to collect data from the community. Selecting a sample of the target population may prove helpful in the collection of data that are easier to analyze. It is important to ensure that the sample is representative of the target population.

A survey should be developed that takes into consideration the developmental level of the group that is being assessed. Questions should be written at the appropriate developmental level, so they are answered in a way that makes the data useful. Surveys might include closed-ended (yes/no), multiple choice (several responses to choose from), Likert scale (Strongly Agree/Agree/Neutral/Disagree/Strongly Disagree), or open-ended (“why”/“how”) questions.

Topics that may be addressed in a survey include the following:

Demographic information
Status of employment
Safety within community
Safety in environment
Personal safety (seatbelts, helmets, etc.)
Stressors/stress management patterns
Risky behaviors
Support systems
Volunteer/community activities
Rest patterns
Nutrition
Dental hygiene
Health promotion activities
Level 1 headings are centered and bold. Level 2 headings are bold and at the left margin. Your submission should be a minimum of 2000 words (maximum 2500 words) in length and should completely answer the proposed questions as listed under “Define the community.” You should have a minimum of three (3) references.

APA formatting required and all responses should be combined into a single document for submission. Use the rubric as a guide for the evaluation method of the project.

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