Older people are the back bone of our society, yet they are frequently treated poorly and suffer discrimination when seeking health care. Many older Americans receive second and third class health care because health care professionals are either not trained to care for the needs of older people, or the provider doesn’t feel that the older person’s health is important enough to warrant better care. Ageism against older Americans is a widespread practice that affects over 50% of American households with older people.When a person reaches the age of sixty, health services are sometimes based on a person’s age. For example, some health care professionals decide not to run certain tests or prescribe certain medications and treatments because they don’t feel that the tests will be beneficial, or that the medication or treatment will work for the patient. Another reason that health care professionals hesitate to provide in-depth care to older people is because they don’t want to put the person though the procedure with the assumption that it would be too tiresome or too hard on the patient. If asked, older people want to go through the tests and procedures in order to take care of their health, but many health care providers don’t ask the patients what their wishes are.In spite of public acknowledgment that ageism by the U.S. health care system does exist, no steps have been taken by the system to remove its bias against older Americans. Ageism continues to be practiced in all levels of health care. In a recent interview with Joe Reynolds,* a 71-year old Oregon resident, Reynolds stated that because he is an older person, health care providers are reluctant to treat him, and some have refused him treatment because of his age. Reynolds has diabetes, and has undergone a heart bypass. He is angry and frustrated with the medical practitioners that he has seen because he has the insurance to pay for his care, and he feels that he can tolerate the tests, procedures and medications. He declared that none of the health care providers is willing to provide the real care that he needs to live as healthy of a life as possible. Reynolds stated, “I’m old so they don’t want to do anything to help me. They don’t ask me how I feel about anything; they don’t ask me for any input about my needs. They just don’t care.”Older people like Reynolds give up and die sooner than they might have if they had been able to receive the necessary medical care. They feel like the cast-offs of society, and rightfully so. Some older people commit suicide instead of being forced to live with pain and other treatable medical conditions that they are unable to obtain treatment for.Preventive care that is routinely provided to younger people is often denied to older people. Screening for life threatening diseases and conditions is provided readily to younger people, but is grudgingly provided to older people, if it is provided at all. Older people are routinely left out when it comes to treatments such as chemotherapy, even though an older person can tolerate it just as well as a younger person. Attitude is also a factor in providing care to an older person. If the attitude of the health care professional is predisposed against providing that health care, the older person will suffer the consequences.The U.S. Health Care System needs to work harder to remove its prejudice against providing adequate and equal health care to older people, and treat them like the deserving American citizens that they are. Older people are the reason that many of our luxuries and comforts are here today. Health care partiality is not the way to treat the people that made this country.*last name changed at the request of interviewee© Copyright 2007 Patti McMann. All rights reserved.
Do you think you have a gambling problem? Perhaps you know someone who might be suffering from this debilitating addiction? Compulsive gambling is a problem that can affect anyone, regardless of their income, age, sex, race or social status. Some people believe that people who gamble too much are always of a certain income level, or race, and that is just not true!Nobody sets out to become a compulsive gambler. No one thinks that it can ever happen to them. After that first trip to the casino, race track, or video lottery terminal, nobody thinks that they will become addicted to it and risk everything they have in order to feed their addiction.The following story, illustrates just how easy, and how innocently compulsive gambling can begin:Susan had it all; a caring husband, two school aged children, a nice house in a good neighborhood, a great job and loving friends. Despite everything that Susan had, she put it all on the line after her first social visit to a local casino. It started innocently, with a girl’s night out that ended up at the casino, Susan’s first time. She put ten dollars on her lucky number 21 on the roulette table, and as she watched the wheel spin, her excitement built, until… the wheel stopped on her lucky number 21!After an evening of fun, and gambling with her girlfriends, Susan left the casino with $500 in her pocket and a feeling of exhilaration! A week later as her wedding anniversary approached, she hit the casino again to have a repeat performance of the week before in order to buy her husband a nice present. This time, luck was not with her, and Susan walked out disheartened, scared and with $2000 less than when she walked in.It started very simply, as it often does, but Susan soon found her self in a cycle of compulsive gambling that would ultimately jeopardize the life that she had worked so hard to build.It’s an all too common story; perhaps you recognize parts of your own story in Susan’s tale? The simple, almost innocent introduction to gambling? The strong desire to repeat the winning performance, and feel the high again? There is a unique story for everyone who becomes addicted to gambling, but throughout all the stories, there are a few common threads that ring true.Compulsive gambling is a serious addiction that can affect anyone, from any walk of life. But it does not have to be a life sentence. You can escape the grips of gambling and walk away, resuming your life, free from the addiction. You do not have to live your life in this iron grip, there is another way.Before you can escape the grips of compulsive gambling, you need to understand it. So many people think that a gambling problem is about the money, that the addict is money hungry or greedy. It’s so much more than that, and in my self-help guide I’ll open your eyes to what your gambling problem is really all about and how you can escape it.
The United States has always been known as the home of cultural diversity; and today that is more accurate than ever. Almost every community in our country consists of families with diverse backgrounds and heritages with native languages other than English. Because of this reality, businesses are beginning to understand the necessity of communicating both the spoken and written word in other languages. In some businesses or industries this change is crucial. The health care industry is the prime example.Health care professionals provide essential, sometimes critical information to their patients on a daily basis. This data is often in writing in the form of prescriptions, admissions documents, HIPAA Compliance information, etc. Many English-speaking patients have a hard time understanding all of the rules, regulations and instructions that are a part of any interaction with the medical community. But if a patient does not speak or read English or if their English proficiency is limited, they have an added disadvantage. And, if a patient does not understand the medical information that is being conveyed to them, they can make choices or agree to procedures that are not in compliance with their wishes or beliefs. This misunderstanding could lead to legal issues for the health care community and unwanted consequences for patients.In any given day, a health care facility could encounter people who speak very little English but speak Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, German, French, Russian, etc. Having the capability to interact and provide pertinent information to patients of other cultures has become a crucial necessity for hospitals and other medical facilities.As though the task of translating numerous medical documents into a variety of languages wasn’t a big enough challenge, the medical community is starting from scratch in this endeavor. Currently, Federal guidelines to oversee the consistency or proficiency of the translation of medical documents are limited. Therefore, many states, understanding the crucial necessity of having medical documents translated into a variety of languages, have developed recommendations and resources as they pertain to the translation of documents and written information. These recommendations cover areas such as the kind of translation, the number of translators to be used on a project and the reading level of the translated documents.One of the challenges in having medical documents translated is that the United States does not presently have licensing requirements for translators. The Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS) acknowledges some associations that offer certificates or accreditation for translation and states are including this information in their recommendations.With this lack of guidelines and accreditation systems, the health care industry is plowing new ground as Institutional Review Boards develop policies and regulations to help guide the implementation of document translation. In the meantime, patients of all cultures, speaking a variety of languages, require medical care; and it is the task of health care providers to supply these patients with relative information and instructions pertaining to their health issues or concerns. The task seems daunting, yet each day progress is made and patients are cared for as the medical community puts form and structure into the process of caring for a multicultural community.