I have chosen the elderly population to write about. Some of the most critical health issues affecting the elderly are Alzheimer, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, depression, obesity, and arthritis. According to the CDC (2013) two out every three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions. In my community there are a few health services to help the elderly with these issues and aim to help them live healthier lives. There is the CSRA Area Agency of Aging, Kindred at Home and the YMCA with the Silver Sneakers program.
I did contact a representative by the name of Scottie at the Marshal Family YMCA here in Georgia in regards to the silver sneaker program they have adopted. The YMCA is an organization that has something for everyone regardless of age, income, and background. Their focus is to bring meaningful change within a person and the community. They focus on three areas. The first being “Youth Development” meaning to nurture the potential in every kid and teen. Second is “Fix healthy living” improve the nation’s health and well-being. Lastly, “Social responsibility” giving back and supporting their neighbors (YMCA, 2015).
Do you feel your organization has made a difference?
Yes, she felt the Silver Sneaker program has made a difference in the elderly community.
What are your main barriers and how are the barriers to services being addressed?
The only barrier that Scottie felt they had with the program is some individuals are very active and some are limited. Finding a middle ground has been a challenge. The Y does allow the members of the Silver Sneakers to go to other classes they feel comfortable participating in. They do not just have to participate in the Silver Sneaker classes they can go to any of the many classes or just to the gym whatever they are comfortable doing.
What are the ethical considerations of your services and how are they addressed?
She was not aware of any ethical considerations with the program or the YMCA. This program has created something for all elderly community to be active physically as well as for their mental state. They do a lot of social activities as well with the program such as pot lucks to get them out socializing and making new friends.
How is your organization funded?
The Silver Sneakers program is paid for by individuals insurance and if their insurance does not participate with the program an individual can pay the discounted senior rate which is around $21 a month and they get full access to the YMCA either way.
What concerns are still unmet in your opinion? Are these areas that will be addressed in the future?
The only concern she had was that not all communities participate with this great program. She hopes that in the future they will be all over for the elderly population to participate with.
What role does your organization play in the overall public health arena?
The YMCA does not just cater to one type of population but to all people of every age they can find something there. They are great at instilling a healthy lifestyle for individuals and active within the community. They have given out thousands (she believed it was close to $92,000) of scholarships to get individuals and families memberships to be able to live healthier lives.
CDC. (2013). State Aging Health in America. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/state-aging-health-in-america-2013.pdf
YMCA. (2015). Our Focus. Retrieved from: http://www.ymca.net/our-focus
As I am deployed currently I face a unique challenge in the format of this assignment as I have limited resources available. However, the demographics of my chosen group are young adults which for application in the military would be from 17-42 depending upon rank and job. For the young adult age bracket and the unique set of circumstances we face in the deployed environment the most critical health issue is that of suicide. Within the military community we do have more than three methods of caring for a Soldier whom starts walking down mental path of suicide. One of the Soldiers options is to get help, counseling, friendship from our local Chaplin’s office. Since we are located on a joint post we have the option of talking with more than just Army Chaplin’s while receiving the same level of confidentiality. The next community service provided locally is that of our medical clinic. Our medical clinic has a group of well trained and diversified staff which can create the environment needed to address whatever issue is presented by the Soldier. Then the third community service provided is that of in theater psychiatrist whom the Soldier can either make arraignments to physically go see, or if immediate intervention is needed call and talk with via VTC.
The Army medical community’s mission statement is to: “Provide the highest quality health care, maximize the medical readiness of the force, and sustain exceptional education and training programs” (WOMAC, 2015). With the vision of, “One Team - Quality Care – Quality Caring” (WOMAC, 2015). The goals and objectives of the deployed clinic is to maintain the mission statement using the vision while minimizing the risks of suicide and other healthcare issues using preventive tactics and strategies. Our deployed location functions as an in depth acute care clinic with basic emergency care capabilities which are capable to sustain patients through MEDIVAC procedures to higher levels of care when necessary.
I chose to interview our Army PA, CPT Sprigs, whom is at our consolidated location in our medical clinic as she is our go to for all aspects of suicide prevention, because she can provide confidential support immediately for our Soldiers. It’s invaluable support because it also ensures that the Soldier at the minimum talks with a professional, the PA. If the PA, CPT Sprigs, determines that it is necessary and the Soldier also choses to engage an appointment can be made with the in theater psychiatrist. All of the following statements are paraphrased from CPT Sprigs.
- Do you feel your organization has made a difference?
CPT Sprigs: Yes, the clinic and its staff have made a difference through preventative measures and educating the service men and women we serve.
- What are your main barriers and how are the barriers to services being addressed?
CPT Sprigs: The main barriers noted are: the stigma of going to the clinic and asking for help; location of the services to the Soldiers as not all are within walking distance; and, the clinic is not run 24 hours.
- What are the ethical considerations of your services and how are they addressed?
CPT Sprigs: The main ethical consideration is that of confidentiality as provided by HIPPA. As the Army works off of a need to know the question is always, “how much, and whom has the authority to know?” The secondary ethical concern is that of physical privacy as our clinic is in a tent which makes it challenging to protect the information which is given from others accidentally overhearing it.
- How is your organization funded?
CPT Sprigs: The clinic is government funded as are the psychiatrists, as they are Army trained, that are in country.
- What concerns are still unmet in your opinion? Are these areas that will be addressed in the future?
CPT Sprigs: The concerns that are still unmet are more of getting the various command elements to use the available services and working through individual stigma’s associated with the asking for help.
- What role does your organization play in the overall public health arena?
CPT Sprigs: The role that our organization play’s in the overall public health arena is that of providing our countries protectors of freedom and their families the comfort that not only will the Soldiers be cared for physically, but mentally and emotionally too. As preventative medicine and mental health our role is also to save lives and provide support to all within our scope to ensure mission success.
In conclusion, considering the size of the mission, specifically eliminating suicide in the ranks, the medical community depends upon the leadership from within units to assist in making contacts and realizing the Soldiers whom may need help. The interdependency, trust and collaboration which guide public health ethics also guide the medical community and at some level the Army’s leadership as a whole (PHLS, 2002). The effectiveness of the clinics in deployed locations is both imperative to the overall mission of every unit involved, but mandatory in the fact that normal outside resources are non-existent. In light of the situational awareness stressed through training venues, the Army’s’ and in turn our locations medical clinic is very effective as there has not been a suicide that I am aware of for at least the past 9 months.
Public Health Leadership Society (PHLS). (2002). Principles of the ethical practice of public health. Retrieved from: http://phls.org/CMSuploads/Principles-of-the-Ethical-Practice-of-PH-Version-2.2-68496.pdf
Womack Army Medical Center (WOMAC) (2015). Army Medical Command. Retrieved from: