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Ethical Concerns of Patients in Long-term Care Facilities - Research Paper Example

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Ethical Concerns of Patients in Long-term Care Facilities (College) Ethical Concerns of Patients in Long-term Care Facilities Long term care (LTC) is concept that aims to meet the medical as well as non-medical needs of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities…
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Ethical Concerns of Patients in Long-term Care Facilities
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Ethical Concerns of Patients in Long-term Care Facilities (College) Ethical Concerns of Patients in Long-term Care FacilitiesLong term care (LTC) is concept that aims to meet the medical as well as non-medical needs of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. The LTC provides improved services to the beneficiaries by assisting them in daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and using bathroom. However, modern study reports indicate the paucity of strategic efficiency, which raises numerous ethical questions with regard to LTC. Among the various factors, staffing issues seem to be the most potential ethical concern associated with modern long term care setting. To begin with, The World Health Organization reports that the ‘combination of demographic and epidemiological forces’ mainly constitutes the global problem of LTC. A recent WHO study states that the need for LTC would increase by 400% in many developing countries for the coming decades (WHO). At the same time, long term care setting has increasingly confronted with various staffing issues that require further strategic formulation with long term effect. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program clearly illustrates that request for health care assistance goes unanswered often for a long time mainly due to staffing deficiency (Department of Health & Human Services). Evidently, timely response is the most essential quality required for any health care organization; the delay in response would have a negative effect on the ethical concerns of the patients. As a result of the delay in response, residents need to wait for a long time in order to get health care assistance. In some cases, the delay in health service delivery may increase the severity of the disease and hence the diseased faces health difficulties. It is precise that most of the chronic diseases such as paralytic illnesses and AIDS would become severe if it is not treated frequently. Such a condition would cause health, economic damages to the patients. The staffing deficiency and related issues have some ethical perspectives also. Psychological studies have proven that the attitude of the health care practitioners can greatly impact patient’s health condition. When the health care assistance is delivered in delay, it would adversely affect the mental state of patients and this condition is unsafe to diseased people. Researchers also argue that a person’s body does not respond to medicines if he is he/she possesses a distracted mind. Negligence from the part of health care workers would frustrate the diseased people and they may worsen their unpleasant condition. The deficiency of direct caregivers drives the long term care setting to rely on agency staff in order to solve the shortages in the staffing schedules. As a result, caregivers who do not know the patient’s individual preferences and needs are often employed to deliver health care assistance. As reported in Medical News Today (22 April 2004), Sometimes, long term care facilities assign extra work among the available staff, instead of hiring agency staff when a staff shortage is experienced. Both these situations would adversely affect the interests of the beneficiaries. This type of issues also will hurt the professional ethics of health care workers. The primary responsibility of a long term care is to provide assistance to patients as and whenever required. An array of factors could be attributed to the staffing deficiency. According to WHO, modern families contain fewer children and most of the young people migrate to urban areas where they find better opportunities to grow economically. In addition, women, the traditional health care givers presently tend to seek jobs in other sectors since the nursing sector does not bear potential earning opportunities (WHO). In the opinion of Mueller (2003), even though the caregiving duty is physically and emotionally demanding, the caregivers do not get a reasonable remuneration. Although the residents need to pay the agency $25 per hour for a caregiver, the agencies may not pay more than $13-14 for their temporary caregivers. In addition, the caregivers often do not get other compensation benefits which are normally paid in all other sectors of employment. Similarly, impeding worksite safety is also found to be a reason for staff deficiency. Sexual assaults, robbery, and other inflictions towards caregivers especially, women are increasing more than ever before. Perhaps, the best reason for the staffing shortage is the brain drain because when nurses migrate to foreign countries for better job opportunities, staffing issues in developing and underdeveloped countries increase. From the above discussion, it is precise that staff shortage is a severe issue in the long term care. This problem raises a series of challenges to individuals who are suffering from chronic illnesses or disabilities. As a result of staff shortage, individuals get delayed assistance which negatively influences the ethical considerations of long term care. Among all possible causes, low level remuneration remains to be the major threat to long term care. References Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Aging, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (OAA, Title VII, Chapter 2, Sections 711/712). Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/Ombudsman/index.aspx Mueller, C. (2003). “Staffing problems in long-term care-Let’s do something about it”. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 29, (3), 3-4 Medical News Today. (22 April 2004). Solutions to impeding U. S. long-term care facility staffing crisis. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/7520.php World Health Organization. (2003). Ethical issues in long term care. Ethics and Health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ethics/nfp_disabled/en/ Read More
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