Assessing the strengths and resources available in society to meet the existing needs of children, youths, and families is part of a community needs evaluation. Community members, agencies, and organizations are all included in the evaluation. Building communities that support and nourish families is made possible by this paradigm (Miley et al., 2004). To perform a community assessment, demographic data from census records, findings from surveys done by others, and informal comments from community partners may all be compiled into one report. Proper evaluation can be conducted using a combination of focus groups and town meetings, interviews with key stakeholders, and surveys of partnership members and the broader community (Conway et al., 2019). This paper examines the assessment of community needs to discover the needs of individuals.
Information Collected to Determine Needs
The gap between what is and what should be might be a need. People, groups, and communities may all identify with a particular need. The need for food and water is a real example, while a stronger sense of communal cohesion is more abstract. Statistics on the community’s size, demographics, religious views, cultural attitudes, and individual roles are all necessary to build an action plan based on an assessment of the community’s requirements; this data, along with any related statistics, must be gathered (Miley et al., 2004). An important use of this data is to gauge how receptive a community is to new ideas, such as the use of male or female nurses in the treatment of patients and how supportive they are of new health practices.
The further steps necessary to fulfill the community’s stated, felt, and compared requirements are determined by the present method being used to address those needs. Government support and money, organizational support and infrastructure, and community coping with programs in place are all examples of information that can be collected (Miley et al., 2004). Based on the present activities, this information is useful in determining if the existing programs affect the community and how effective they are. Community needs assessments may benefit from the availability of persons who can give comments and assistance. To accurately assess community requirements, it is necessary to speak with members of the community and the people within it (Bird et al., 2020). It is important to consider the community’s financial resources when developing an action plan for a community needs assessment since this might impact the creation of health promotion programs. The community’s socioeconomic position and available resources determine the strategy’s long-term viability.
Methods to Collect Data
The first method is the use of interviews, which involves talking to people who can provide insight into the community’s needs, such as community leaders, healthcare providers, and other experts. It is also good to speak with people affiliated with organizations or agencies that are actively involved in community development planning or promotion (Miley et al., 2004). The second method is the survey which is a good way to determine how often people in the community utilize certain services and collect useful data based on those people’s perceptions of their own needs (Conway et al., 2019). There are various ways surveys may be disseminated and collected, from giving out on the street to windshield surveys and mailing family members (Bird et al., 2020). Still, many people might not participate because of the time and effort necessary. However, this approach can offer a basic picture of the community’s needs.
The use of focus groups is the third method to collect data. To present folks with alternatives and get particular input, focus groups pick a small, focused group from the community (Miley et al., 2004). It is possible to get detailed and important information from a focused group of people and immediate feedback and individual opinions of community needs by conducting a focus group. These include a small sample of people who might not be interested in what is being deliberated. Some people prefer to discuss their viewpoints in a discrete format since they find it difficult to communicate in large groups. Focus groups are focused on finding opinions, but not facts.
Role of Research in Assessment and Intervention
Using census data, researchers may learn about other communities with comparable issues to the one being studied. Participants in the study or intervention are involved in all stages of the research process, called “community-based participatory research,” (Miley et al., 2004). For example, it empowers the participants, gathers accurate and reliable information, and gets community support for the project. It also contributes to community improvement and social transformation (Miley et al., 2004). Research can help communities and people who engage with them become more effective builders of change.
Confident and competent communities are built by people who are aware of their own needs and can address them. As a result, research serves as a means of empowerment. Research in public health should be taken as a team responsibility, where every expert needs to make a necessary contribution to help in solving illness problems and mortality (Miley et al., 2004). Many well-intentioned public health initiatives are confounded by social, cultural, and technical challenges that must be overcome via community-based research. Health research has the potential to advance our understanding of health and empowers people all around the globe via international cooperation and partnership (Conway et al., 2019). Student researchers have the potential to make significant contributions to community-based health research as the field continues to expand.
Use of the Assessment Data to Develop Intervention Strategies
The assessment data may be summarized more effectively by classifying the most important results. Planning one’s answer is easier if all important results are separated. Strengths, gaps, opportunities, and challenges are the most common categories used in community assessments. There must be an opportunity for those who have learned about the community to profit from their insights. It is easier to get community support if people know what they have accomplished and their community needs (Miley et al., 2004). The last stage in doing a community assessment is communicating the findings and implementing the necessary intervention strategy.
There are several ways to get the word out about the results, including community meetings, news releases, the publication of a pamphlet summarizing the important findings and activities, and posting the whole report online. Attending a community gathering and distributing the report can aid in developing the strategies. Inviting all relevant parties, including current and potential collaborators, is also a way to use the assessment data to brainstorm the most feasible ideas to create strategies. Also, the data can be used by inviting the people who will benefit most from one’s efforts to overcome the obstacles.
Experience from Working with Communities
There were several ways I was able to help the community this year by volunteering at the county Science Museum and the Helping Hands organization. As a result of these volunteer experiences, I am more aware of the needs in my community and the various ways I can help. Helping Hands has benefited my family in the past. The Helping Hands organization helped my family pay our power bill some years ago when we had financial difficulties. I decided to volunteer there to give back to the organization for their help to my family in the past.
Although sorting piles of toys did not seem like much fun, my boss said that many children would be delighted to get these items as Christmas presents. I put everything into perspective because of this one statement. As a volunteer, I was not doing it for myself; I was doing it for the greater good, sharing happiness and hope with those in need. I decided to assist as a volunteer because I wanted to return the favor and help out another family in the same manner. It was gratifying to provide hot meals to those who could not afford them and to be a listening ear when they expressed their gratitude. Overall, it was an incredibly humbling experience that made me appreciate how fortunate I am.
In conclusion, the needs of the community should be identified and quantified. Once an evaluation is completed, the findings must be shared with the impacted community to gain their support and participation. A continuous loop of needs assessment, planning, evaluation, and reassessment must be implemented and maintained to evaluate community health assessments. The establishment of successful community health initiatives requires an accurate evaluation of the health state of the population.
Bird, M., Ouellette, C., Whitmore, C., Li, L., Nair, K., McGillion, M. H., & Carroll, S. L. (2020). Preparing for patient partnership: a scoping review of patient partner engagement and evaluation in research. Health Expectations, 23(3), 523-539.
Conway, D., Nicholls, R. J., Brown, S., Tebboth, M. G., Adger, W. N., Ahmad, B., & Wester, P. (2019). The need for bottom-up assessments of climate risks and adaptation in climate-sensitive regions. Nature Climate Change, 9(7), 503-511.
Miley, K. K., O’Melia, M., & DuBois, B. (2004). Generalist social work practice. An empowering. Routledge.