Final Process Reflection

I feel like this course has now come full circle now that we’ve talked about end of life care and elderly care. From the social determinants of health to how the medical professions view death and terminal illness, I can see how our society came to revolve around health and fitness. The concept of the patient and patient experience though, is what really stood out to me, even though I’ve never been hospitalized and I can’t relate to this.

Continue reading “Final Process Reflection”

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A plan to create change in the healthcare world

Before taking this class, I will admit that I had a very narrowed view of the healthcare industry, and was not familiar with all the intricate components that make up the healthcare sector. The beauty of becoming a doctor is all too glamorized, and many fail to realize that the healthcare industry is not solely about the doctor and their practice. Medicare, Medicaid, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare laws, the doctor-patient relationship, elderly care, overtreatment, overdiagnosis – these are just a few of the many things that this sociology class has introduced me too. As a future healthcare provider, I now realize the importance in understanding these individual components and how they shape the way patients receive care.

The most fulfilling thing this class has instilled in me is a desire to change all the negative aspects of healthcare. One of the major parts that we focused on in class is the lack of care millions of Americans receive, despite Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies. I was baffled by the staggering numbers of Americans that find themselves unable to provide medically for themselves, and find themselves resorting to alternative methods, foreign country care, or simply avoiding medical care altogether. As I’ve discussed before in a previous reflection post, I believe the most impactful way to change the course of our current healthcare is to become educated, and vote. This upcoming presidential election is inching closer and closer, and educating myself of each party’s platform and ideals in the best way to see change in the healthcare world.

Although I initially took this class as a fulfillment for my Public Health Minor, the wealth of knowledge I have acquired will better me as a healthcare consumer, and a future healthcare provider. Even after finishing this class, I plan to keep educating myself on the persisting changes in the healthcare world.

Hope for Our Nation? (Process Reflection)

As I look back on this semester, my thoughts toward our health care system have changed. To be honest, I enrolled in this class because I needed an elective for my public health minor. I did not have any expectations coming into this course as I thought it would be just like my previous healthcare course I took in Sargent. At the end of the day, I learned so much from this class and I hope to use this knowledge and understanding as I pursue my career in the health care industry. Continue reading “Hope for Our Nation? (Process Reflection)”

A Reflection on the Course

This course has been eye-opening for me. The most interesting idea I have learned is the correlation between socioeconomic status and health outcomes. The Whitehall studies in England produced a result I did not expect. Prior to the course I would have expected wealth to correlate with health but I would not have expected race, education or stress to correlate with health as well.

Another topic I found very interesting was the need for the medical profession to focus on care and the quality of patient life as well as curing the affliction. This idea is one that I have seen in the past when dealing with family members in the hospital. However, I was not aware that the quality of life is not always the primary concern of doctors. This realization had a large impact on me.

A final topic was shown to me in the analytical postings, but I wish it was discussed more in class. Mental health infrastructure is a serious problem that has been around for far too long. A large percentage of the population experiences some form of mental health issue, and there is very little infrastructure to support these patients. Moreover, the majority of homeless people and a large portion of the prison population suffer from a mental illness. I feel that, in the context of a course that is teaching students to address societal medical issues, this would have been a great topic to study in depth.

How can applying the motives of hospice care to other medical settings improve the quality of healthcare?

End of life care provides personalized care to dying patients. The main goal of hospice care is to give the patients a sense of dignity and respect their requests. Listening to the patient’s final wishes builds a supportive environment not only for the patient, but also for their family. After all, everyone deserves to be treated as a human being when dying. Continue reading “How can applying the motives of hospice care to other medical settings improve the quality of healthcare?”

Final Process Reflection

Sociology of Healthcare has opened my eyes to the many multifaceted  problems within the healthcare system, especially in the United States. As a developed country, one would expect the best quality care and equality for all its citizens. This is clearly not the case. Our current system has been  and is continually hesitant to change.

Traditional medicine and practices are not always the answer to good care. Some major takeaways from this class are equity and access to care and the importance of a universal healthcare system. There are large disparities in health among racial and ethnic minorities. These disparities create major spikes in healthcare costs and promote a continual decline in health that impacts the overall health of the United States. There are more problems to consider such as doctors and feeling, and how it affects the patient and health outcomes. The lack of feeling and emotion in healthcare overlooks patient needs. This leads to a poor experience and in some cases poorer health outcomes. If doctors would take the time to get to know their patients, they would be better able to address their problems (some that may not be easily identified in a healthcare setting).

In the end, it is crucial for the individual to be the focus in healthcare. At the end of the day, we are caring for people not human bodies. Access to quality care is a must to promote healthy lives at all stages of life.

Hospice Care

In the Documentary we watched today in class, it was mentioned that medical students should spend time on a hospice rotation before beginning their profession in medical practice. After everything we have learned throughout the semester about physician-patient relationships, and patient-centered care, and things of that nature, and now learning from the video the morals behind hospice care, it almost seems necessary to me for students to have a rotation at some point in a hospice facility. It teaches young doctors and soon to be doctors how to build relationships with the people they are treating, so that they do not lose their identity and become identified by their disease like patients so often do. Continue reading “Hospice Care”

Health Care & Death

In the article, “Tip-Toeing Toward Conversations About Death”, by Martha Bebinger, the evolvement of health care in regards to death is discussed. Bebinger stated that a new law in Massachusetts was passed, “urges more of us to make preparations for these wrenching experiences by requiring that doctors offer information on end-of-life care to “appropriate” patients.” This is a huge step for health care. Most of the time doctors only focused on saving patients lives, not making them comfortable for their death.

This huge step in health care is really important because families and patients should be able to live the last days of their lives in a way that makes them the most comfortable. I fully support this new law. However, it brings about a few questions. With this new evolvement in health care will assisted suicide soon be legalized in Massachusetts and other states?

Issues with End-Of-Life Care planning program?

After reading the article “Tip-Toeing Toward Conversations About Death,” I was glad to see the encouragement towards end-of-life care planning. While steps are being made to expand the guideline of the “appropriate” patient for end-of-life care planning with their primary care providers, issues still remain with the end-of-life training program. Take for instance the MOLST form. Though the pamphlet cements in writing the desires of the patient the medical steps they would like to be taken in their case, it still has certain limitations. Where the patient would like to be taken or housed in solely designated by two options: transfer to a hospital or no hospital transfer. Should not the option of deciding for or against nursing home care and or home-care be designated as well on the form? Some, like Andrew Stefanides from the article concerning a father’s dieing wish, would probably have benefited greatly for such an option. What other possible limitations are there with the MOLST form? Does giving out a form as simple as this display insensitivity to the patient? Are their better methods with which to initiate the discussion of end-of-life care?

Do we lose value as we grow older?

Upon reading the article titled “Fighting to Honor a Father’s Last Wish: To Die at Home,” I was appalled at the treatment given to not only the Stefanides family, but the elderly and or disabled community as a whole in their struggle for adequate and genuine care from insurers, doctors, hospitals, as well as nursing homes. From physical abuse to possible starvation to being left to stew in their own defecation for hours due to lack of professional supervision and neglect, the extent to which older Americans like Andrew Stefanides are forgotten and mistreated makes one question the morality of the US healthcare system and its motivation to “Save lives” as opposed to “palliative care.” Andrew Stefanides was a hardworking man from humble beginnings who served our country in War War II. He, as well as his poor wife whom suffered from mental illness, deserved to be treated with respect and allowed a peaceful death. Yet, both were robbed of those very social rights. As soon as we no longer provide exploitable physical or mental strength, it has long been seen that we as a people lose our place in the job and or relationship market. As shown by this article, the “health market” can be added to the list. Whatever value is granted towards the old and or disabled it seems is solely to provide profit. I guess my question is if others agree with this statement. Do you believe that in American culture, individuals lose value as they age or suffer from disabilities? Would the same treatment have been shown by the health system if children were at the center of the issue instead? How much would the public or political parties have advocated and actively participated in reform then?