Disparities in health and healthcare

Disparities in health and healthcare have been prevalent for over a century now. Studies suggest that healthcare disparities in health literacy continue to be a significant problem with little progress made to eradicate these challenges (Betancourt et al. 2016). Addiction to drugs and alcohol create a significant health disparity. Nurses can respond to health disparity created by alcohol by maintaining contact with patients diagnosed with complications triggered by or related to drug addiction and alcohol abuse such as alcohol dependence and abuse. Negative attitudes, opinions, and beliefs manifest in many healthcare settings and depict individuals with drug addiction and alcohol-associated problems as weak-willed, dangerous, and immoral “drunk”.

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Disparities between the poor and the rich are rising sharply all over the world. Few people are becoming increasingly successful and wealthy while a large population is becoming disproportionately poor (Betancourt et al. 2016). There are significant communication and organizational challenges that face those delivering healthcare in the community. However, the model of shared care frequently adopted means that many health care providers may be involved in the management of an individual patient will be employed to deliver information in the discharge education plan.
The discharge education program can be adapted to meet diverse cultural and language groups by understanding the concept of cultural competence. A culturally competent discharge education plan demonstrates empathy and understanding of cultural differences in treatment design, implementation, and evaluation. A culturally competent treatment is characterized by staff sensitivity to the first language of the clients and understanding the cultural nuances of the client population. Overall, disparities created by health literacy play a significant role in in medical compliance which in turn affects patient outcomes.


1. Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., Carrillo, J. E., and Owusu Ananeh-Firempong, I. I. (2016). Defining cultural competence: a practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Public health reports.

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