Elderly Health Care in the United States
The population of the elderly in the United States has increased steadily over the 20th century. The declining mortality in the elderly age groups, do to increased knowledge and technology in the medical field, has an exerting impact on the accumulation of the elderly and the vulnerable with in our society. General health and well being for this demographic is a growing concern as well as financing Medicare. With these growing numbers of the elderly population it is safe to say that elderly health care in the United States is going to be a growing concern and an issue in the years to come. With the “baby boomers” beginning to reach the thresh hold of this growing elderly demographic this issue on elderly health and well-being will only grow faster and become more complex. The ability of the elderly to access quality health care will become more difficult with the rising cost of the services, the increasing complexity of the healthcare system, and the decline in the number of primary-care providers, coupled with the growing number of older individuals. Elderly Health Care is an issue that is only growing and in need of changes. The issue of elderly health care in the United States is one that has personally touched my life. On the 15th of January 2012 Daniel J. O’Leary passed away at the age of 81 after a strong fight with Parkinson’s. This man was my grandfather. Watching his last few years and his fight with Parkinson’s it was apparent at times frustrating for my grandfather because certain issues with his Medicare would restrict certain medications or not cover certain routine procedures concerning his Parkinson’s. I was fortunate enough to spend time with him while he spent his last days in the hospital in Natick Massachusetts. The nursing staff and the doctors were less than adequate and seemed to be irritated when my grandfather wasn’t able to stay still, do to his Parkinson’s, during certain routine procedures. I never saw a doctor except for the morning he passed away. We asked a number of times for the nurses to come in to assist my grandfather and often the nurses would take too long, a cousin, who is a registered nurse, would step in and assist our grandfather. The lack of care for my grandfather made me look at the holes in the health care system for the elderly. It sparked an interest in the public health field and how my degree in Anthropology could make a difference for someone like my grandfather. The present state of healthcare reform raises many ethical concerns about the availability of health care for the American public. Adequate access to health care has gained the attention of the US government, professional associations, and healthcare providers alike. The American Nurses’ Association advocates for reform ensuring that all people have access to high-quality health care. (Trotochaud 2006) Many professional healthcare associations currently view access to health care as a primary concern, particularly among the elderly population. (Trotochaud 2006) There are concerns that the nation’s elderly may experience more hardships related to a lack of access to health care as a result of Medicare’s declining reimbursement rates combined with Medicaid’s already low reimbursements. Many healthcare providers are limiting the number of Medicare patients they see or opting out of Medicare and Medicaid completely. (Lyons 1996) Factors that have a strong influence on the elderly population’s access to health care include the type of insurance coverage, socioeconomic status, and sociodemographic factors. (Stevens 2005) The socioeconomic status appears to be the most significant issue that keeps the elderly from obtaining access to health care. The access to quality health care services will become more difficult for the elderly as the cost continues to rise. These days having health insurance coverage through Medicare does not guarantee elderly patients access to...
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