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Title: The use of the term vulnerability in acute care: why does it differ and what does it mean?
Austin Authors: Scanlon, Andrew;Lee, Geraldine A
Affiliation: La Trobe University/Austin Health Clinical School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Clinical Nurse Specialist Neurosurgery/Vascular surgery, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date: 5-Mar-2007
Publication information: The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing : A Quarterly Publication of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation; 24(3): 54-9
Abstract: Throughout health care literature, vulnerability is widely accepted as a potential issue for all patients yet the consensus on the meaning of and practical strategies to reduce or manage these 'harmful agents' in the clinical context are rarely offered. Three main themes emerge from the related literature which can be further refined into general terms of; social vulnerability--a person's basic statistical data in relation to their potential for illness; psychological vulnerability--the actual or potential harm to the identity of self and/or other emotional effects such as anxiety or stress caused by the ailment or treatment; and physical vulnerability--which refers to the actual physiological state where an individual is susceptible to further morbidity or mortality.Acute care facilities.Although there is acknowledgment within the literature that individuals will experience some form of vulnerability when hospitalised, the complexity of what defines vulnerability for individuals causes further problems for patients and health professionals alike.This paper attempts to define vulnerability within the context of Western health care systems and raises the following issues: all states of vulnerability are accurate and appropriate in the context of the study or incidence alluded to, but further discussion and research is required to achieve a consensus to when, how, why and who is vulnerable. It is this recognition of the potentially differing classifications of vulnerability and the particular contexts that can be used that may assist nurses and other health care professionals with, not only problems associated with a patient's hospitalisation, but in the implementation of appropriate strategies to individual patient's cases.
Gov't Doc #: 17518167
Journal: The Australian journal of advanced nursing : a quarterly publication of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Australia
Delivery of Health Care.organization & administration
Vulnerable Populations
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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