A community health assessment tool as described by the Association for Community Health Improvement (2017) provides a nine-step process of identifying and prioritizing community needs. The process, on the fifth step, provides an assessment of the different types of criteria that can be used to prioritize the needs of the community. Each hospital is at its discretion to develop its criteria and process to guide its prioritization process. This paper will describe a set of criteria that will be applied to guide and determine the prioritization process upon community health assessment analysis.
The first criteria that will be used in the prioritization process are the community’s capacity and willingness to act on the issue. Community support is critical in determining the level of absorption of the intended intervention. Community’s capacity and willingness determine if a project will have a secure base on which it can act and support the project in different ways. The community must be ready for anything and the response should be suitable in whatever means necessary to ensure the success of the project. As such, any need that shall arise will be well catered for, since the community will work with the project in a manner consistent with progress.
The other criterion that is worth consideration is the availability of hospital and community resources. Resources are key in the implementation of an intervention project. Their availability or not is critical to ensure that the community health project achieves its intended needs and objectives. With a good community resource plan, it is easy to organize an efficient resource utilization plan that will add value to the community as explained by Pennel et al. (2017b). It will further prevent the misuse of resources and duplication of efforts through purchasing what is already existing or that which can be improvised to deliver great value without incurring high costs.
Community health projects need to be focused on a particular issue that is of significance to the community. As such, the need among vulnerable populations should be identified to ensure that there is a proper direction of resources to projects that matter. With proper identification of needs, gaps that exist in the community are known as expressed by Pennel et al. (2017a). Further, the identification of gaps is a step in the right direction as it shows the implementation of organization issues that are likely to slow the achievement of its goals. The needs analysis will show the severity of the problem and deliver optimally.
The implementation of a community health project needs to be well coordinated to ensure that there is consistency in the way issues are run. Such preparations need to be made to ensure that the project is well planned and coordinated. As such, the use of resources is optimized together with the output generated. Further, the community engagement level is increased with proper prioritization, which results in a reduction in the number of community members who are opposing the project. In addition, with proper prioritization, it becomes apparent that the right needs in the community need to be identified and acted upon. By ensuring that all these aspects work in unison, it will ensure that the project succeeds.
Association for Community Health Improvement. (2017). Community Health Assessment Toolkit. Accessed at www.healthycommunities.org/assesstoolkit
Pennel, C. L., McLeroy, K. R., Burdine, J. N., Matarrita-Cascante, D., & Wang, J. (2017a). A mixed-methods approach to understanding community participation in community health needs assessments. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 23(2), 112-121.Pennel, C. L., Burdine, J. N., Prochaska, J. D., & McLeroy, K. R. (2017b). Common and critical components among community health assessment and community health improvement planning models. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 23, S14-S21
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