Over the past few years, leadership for the health care organization for which you work has noticed a distinct change in the population served by the organization. Leadership wants to make sure they are addressing the needs of this population. You have been asked to participate on an interdisciplinary team that is charged with learning how the population has changed and what needs to be done within the organization to develop a wellness education program that will target the needs and concerns of the population. Your first step in this process is to conduct a windshield survey and report your findings back to your team.
A windshield survey is an inexpensive, time-efficient way to assess and better understand a community and the people who live within that community. Understanding the demographics of a community will help you determine the health-related issues that are likely to exist so you can plan the most appropriate types of wellness programs, health education, and disease prevention programs. Windshield surveys are done by making visual observations of a neighborhood or community while driving; hence the name. This type of survey lets you observe the housing conditions, use of open spaces, shopping, schools, types of transportation, human services, protective services, and other aspects of the overall daily life of a community.
Before you start, you need to identify the boundaries of the neighborhood or community you plan to observe. For the purposes of this course, you should keep the size of the area to no more than 2–3 square miles. The area should be large enough for you to gather relevant information, but small enough that your observation does not take you more than 1–2 hours. With this size, it is not necessary to use a car to complete the survey; you can also walk or bike. Whichever method you use, be mindful of your personal safety. It may be helpful to map out the route you will take ahead of time. It can also be helpful (and safer) to have another person do the driving while you observe and make notes.
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Once you are on the route, start making observations right away. Stop frequently to write down notes. A template is provided to help you document your observations.
The timing of your observation can be important in helping you focus on specific items. If possible, consider conducting your survey more than once at different times of the day. For example, if you make your observations too early in the morning, you may miss things that take place later in the day that provide a different perspective of the neighborhood. It is also important to be as objective as possible when making your observations.
Conduct the windshield survey, using the template for this assessment.
Use the template as a guide to write a report for your team. If possible, look at other written documents used within your organization. How are they formatted? Follow that format as closely as possible, making sure you still use APA guidelines for your in-text references, citations, and reference page.
Based on your observations and notes from your survey experience, write a report that includes the following:
Describe, briefly, the neighborhood or community you observed (overall condition, types of spaces and businesses, evidence of services, and so forth).
Describe a vulnerable or diverse population you observed living within the neighborhood or community.
Now you will need to do some research on the population you described:
Explain how the demographics for the population have changed over the past 5–10 years. Note: This information should be readily available through the United States Census Bureau, similar state Web sites, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or other professional sites. Be sure your information is current.
Describe the most prevalent health risks for the population. For example, if your population is senior citizens, then the health risks might be diabetes and loss of mobility. Include statistics on the health risks, such as frequency of occurrence in the population and number of deaths per year in the population.
Identify the health disparities and social determinants of health that can affect the population. In other words, what will you need to overcome to develop a successful health promotion and disease prevention program for the population?