Purpose and Background Information
Nurses must be able to knowledgeably plan services for individuals, families and the community. In order to effectively plan, it is essential that you assess the current health status of the community and its resources.
Assessment may include the following strategies: Mining of health data bases, windshield or walking surveys, and more formal quantitative and qualitative research investigations involving community members and other stakeholders. A “windshield survey” is conducted from a car and provides a visual overview of a community (may also be done as a walking survey). Conditions and trends in the community that could affect the health of the population (social determinants) are noted. Most surveys of this type must be validated and expanded through data mining of available online and other databases of demographic and health-related statistics.
Evidence collected during a formal community assessment forms the basis for planning to improve the health status of the community, which impacts individuals’ health downstream.
Research on Oak Park Community in W Chicago and answer all the questions below in full details.
Boundaries: You may include the street boundaries for the community, as well as any physical demarcation that defines the community boundaries:
• Is it a natural boundary such as a river or a lake?
• Is it a man-made boundary such as train tracks?
• Is there a noticeable difference in the socioeconomic level in comparison to neighboring communities? Do the individual neighborhoods vary in socioeconomic status?
Housing and zoning: You may want to evaluate the typical single family, multi-family, alternative housing, and assisted living type homes for the area. A visual map showing the boundaries of the community is always helpful. Make a note of whether or not the residences have a large number of real estate signs on them. Supportive data could also include:
• any specific areas (and the size of the area) in which houses were in disrepair,
• how many homes were for sale?
• how many single-family homes in comparison to multi-family dwellings or senior living complexes?
• average home market price,
• any data regarding proportion of young families with children compared to retirees
• any changes in residency, recent trends in real estate (are the new construction homes build where previous existing homes were torn down? Or was there still available space in this established community?)
Open Space: Determine the open spaces throughout the community, including vacant lots, green spaces, undeveloped areas, nature areas, and parks. Supportive data could also include:
• How many open spaces, parks, or green spaces are available?
• Does the community appear to be focused on open space availability, parks, divided streets with trees or landscapes parkways?
• Are there minimum lot sizes?
• How many of these parks and green spaces are park district owned?
• How many of these are City owned?
• How many of these are State owned? Forest preserve district owned?
• Are the people really utilizing the available spaces?
“Commons”: Commons refers to areas or establishments in which people gather, socialize, spend leisure time, or use for recreation (e.g., walking, biking, and walking their dogs). What are the most popular neighborhood hangouts and what subgroup(s) of the population are drawn to those particular places to hang out? Supportive data may include:
• The “closed” hang out places that may be unfriendly to strangers or newcomers?
• Is there any gang activity?
• Popular bars or nightlife?
• Places that draw younger people (Jr. High, high school)?