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NURS FPX 5003 Assessment 1: Identifying Community Health Needs

Capella 5003 Assessment 1

Assessment 1: Identifying Community Health Needs


Capella University

School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Capella University

NURS-FPX 5003 Assessment 1:

Health Assessment and Promotion for Disease Prevention in Population-Focused Health

Prof. Name:


Identifying Community Health Needs

Rural communities face their own unique difficulties when it comes to healthcare. Patients have become accustomed to travel distances of two to four hours or more for healthcare in the rural areas of Kansas. For Instance, in Great Bend, Kansas you can receive standard hospital diagnostic treatment for common ailments within the city limits, but if you are experiencing any serious medical condition or emergent need for treatment more than likely you will be transferred or referred to physicians and specialists across the state. Great Bend is a rural town in central Kansas. Their population is approximately 15,000 people with minimally diverse population consisting of 71% Caucasian and twenty 23% Hispanic origins. The median household income is approximately $46,659, with an average of 2.38 people occupying each residency. The median value of an owner-occupied home is $101,800. In Great Bend 85% if residents hold a minimum of a high school diploma, while 20.3% have obtained a bachelor’s degree or hire.  The population over the age of 65 makes up 16.5% and the approximate number of veterans living within city limits is 888. (United States Census.2021).

The most prevalent health conditions effecting veterans in this area are hypertension, arthritis, and cancer. There are 69.8% of veterans experiencing hypertension, 62.8% with arthritis, and over 30% have been diagnosed with cancer. (Boersma, 2021). Great Bend is sixty miles from the nearest VA satellite Clinic.

 What seems even more difficult is to obtain timely local care for someone that has served our country in any branch of the military. For a veteran in Great Bend, they must travel a minimum of one hour to be seen by a VA credentialed center to be referred to a local healthcare provider. These individuals have sacrificed for our country, and they are inconvenienced and must pay for their own transportation and time off work to make these accommodations to use VA services. Of the nearly 20 million veterans in the United States over 4.5 million veterans live in rural areas. Fifty five percent of these rurally located veterans are 65 years or older and fifty six percent of them are affected by a service-related condition. (Rural Veterans,2021)

Considering the average age and health condition of these service members it becomes increasingly difficult to obtain timely health care that is covered by the VA. There are only two Veteran Affairs Departments in Great Bend serving a population of over fifteen thousand veterans. (Veterans Affairs Department, n.d.)

The veterans in Kansas consist of a variety of different ethnicities. There is a gap in resources available for transportation for veterans to and from appointments for healthcare or mental health assistance. NURS-FPX 5003  Assessment 1: Identifying Community Health Needs. The nearest location that offers transportation is again two hours away and must travel to pick up and return the veteran to their appointment. In addition a person only qualifies for these types of services if they live in a highly rural area defined as having less than 7 people per square mile. (VA, 2019). The veteran statistical information is readily available online on government reporting agencies websites.

NURS-FPX 5003  Assessment 1: Identifying Community Health Needs

            Approximately 8.9 million veterans are enrolled in a form of VA health benefits. (Department of Veteran Affairs) That amounts to less than half of our service members taking advantage of health care services. Most of the veteran population is approaching or in retirement and tend to have a higher prevalence of common health concerns than non-veterans.  (Ebner, 2015)

These groups of veterans from World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War are all among the growing number of VA participants that will need increased medical attention as they age. This population of people are at high risk and are impacted by the lack of veteran healthcare in rural areas. As many aging individuals require more assistance to accomplish daily activities it becomes increasingly difficult to make these long journeys to obtain treatment or attend follow up care.  The number of veterans that rely on the VA for healthcare is expected to increase over the next five years while the veteran population is projected to decrease nineteen percent over the next ten years. (Ebner, 2015)

With all the unknown, what is apparent in the present is that these individuals do not have enough people advocating for their healthcare availability and assistance to obtain treatment in rural areas. Regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity there is an immediate need to support our Veteran communities and the data that shows the demand will only increase in the next five years.  With 69.8% of veterans in this area experiencing hypertension there are increasing risk factors for heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome to name a few.  

These effect veterans due to many biologic factors, but also due to lifestyles that have developed as coping mechanisms from traumatic experiences that potentiate obesity, smoking, inactive lifestyle, drinking alcohol and high levels of stress. (Mayo Clinic, 2021).


Boersma, Peter (2/23/2021) National Health Statistics Report, Multiple Chronic Conditions

            Among Veterans and Nonveterans: United States, 2015-2018.


Ebner, C (2015) Current and Projected Characteristics and Unique Health Care needs of the

            Patient population served by the Department of Veteran Affairs.                                                  ,Patient%20Populations%20Will%20Shift%20in%20the%20Next%20Decade

Health Benefits: Veterans Transportation Program, (5/17/2019),to%20serve%20Veterans’%20transportation%20needs.

Mayo Clinic: High Blood Pressure (hypertension) (7/1/2021)


Rural Veterans and Access to Healthcare. (02/03/2021).

United States Census Bureau. (07/01/2021) QuickFacts.



Veteran Affairs. (03/31/2016) Department of Veteran Affairs: VA Benefits and Health Care

            Utilization Statistics at a glance.


Veterans Affairs Department in Great Bend, Kansas. (n.d.)


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