What is included when we talk about diverse patient population?
There are many different ways to look into the topic of diversity here in Schenectady, so first lets start with the basic demographics. According to World Population Review, Schenectady is home to 66,107 citizens. Within this population, 58.1% are white, 20.8% are African American and 6.6% are Asian. These demographics give us a well rounded idea of the environment within Schenectady. based off the race demographics, we can conclude Schenectady is a pretty diverse environment. However, we cannot base diversity solely off race. Age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and identity and disabilities are all factors that would diversify the patient population. Therefore, these are all factors we need to look into when we talk about diversity within a community.
How do these demographics play into healthcare?
Now lets try to think about how these demographics affect the healthcare for this diverse patient population. First, we will look into the topic of race. It’s no secret that minorities are less likely to have healthcare coverage than their white counterparts. We have talked about numerous different situations in class where we see minorities in lower economic status also in poorer health than the white neighborhood a few miles down the road. Simple things like access to fresh food and a park to exercise in are luxuries some minority communities do not have. There is statistically more fast food chains in poorer neighborhoods and may be less access to healthcare resources due to a lack of transportation. There is also much more added stress when living in a poorer neighborhood and having to worry about paying bills. All of these factors decrease the overall health of the patients living within them. Thankfully, Schenectady is taking some small measures to help alleviate this strain on minority communities. For example, Ellis Hospital has a Financial Assistance Program to help patients who are uninsured or underinsured pay for their medical bills. There is also a Planned Parenthood that offers a lot of free contraception, screening and education to the general public. There are also numerous free clinics for non emergent care. Schenectady offers a lot of advancements for the minorities and lower income citizens.
Disabilities can range from mental, physical and psychological. They can severely impact families and the individual and gaining the proper healthcare for these individuals is one of the most important steps. According to the CDC, there are approximately 61 million adults in the United States living with a disability. Receiving healthcare coverage as a person with a disability can be difficult due to stigma and miscommunication. Those living with disabilities are also statistically more likely to have difficulty financing for healthcare as well. On a national level, The Health Insurance Marketplace is a good program for those with disabilities. It offers those who have gone without coverage or have had limited access to needed health care to obtain health insurance in the individual market. Within Schenectady, Schenectady ARC is a wonderful organization on State Street. It offers both residential and day to day services to those with an array of different disabilities.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Within the United States almost 1 in 4 people will struggle with a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Within Schenectady there are thousands of citizens struggling with some sort of mental illness, but there are many resources here to assist with them. Ellis Hospital provides psychological services and referrals. Mohawk Opportunities also offers mental health assistance to those who are homeless or financially unstable. Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS) provides rehabilitation and therapy to those struggling with a substance abuse disorder.
Overall, Schenectady has many options to offer for their diverse patient population. They cover a large array of resources to those who may have mental health issues, disabilities and socioeconomic restraints.