health care for the disabled. The writer explores the health care stages that are available for the disabled in every stage of life. The writer uses published works from various sources to illustrate and underscore the need for solid health care access for all disabled individuals in the nation. There were six sources used to complete this paper.
"Different stages of available health care for people with disabilities"
The issue of health care has been a hot topic of debate in this country for many years. Health care costs are skyrocketing, available services are dwindling and the public is screaming with outrage and demand for improvements to the entire health care system. While those who can speak for themselves are having no trouble voicing their upset about the current state of the nation's health care system, there is a population that cannot always speak up. The disabled in this country are also in need of health care. The disabled have entirely different needs from the non-disabled population in addition to the regular and normal needs that are encountered by both the disabled and the non-disabled. The disabled are often on government health care programs which are constantly being scrutinized, criticized and cut back due to budget constraints. This is often met with outrage by the advocates of the disabled as the disabled often need MORE health care options than the non-disabled, yet they are often given less than what they need.
There are several issues when it comes to the health care options for the disabled. Whether the disabled patient is a child, teen, adult or senior citizen there are things that must be considered in order to provide them with the best possible care. Experts agree that including the disabled person in the decisions about their health care is a positive and productive step to providing that patient with the best possible care (Bricher, 2000).
Whether it is hospital care, home care or outpatient care, the disabled patient has to maintain health care that will allow him or her to continue to lead a productive life within the limits of their disability.
Whether discussing the best way to get the patient to the health care facility or whether or not to have Hospice come in to the home, it is important to understand the health care options that are available to the disabled population at all stages of life.
If the stages of available health care for the disabled are understood, the public and advocates for the disabled can better assist in protecting the health care stages and options for the disabled .
Health care needs
When it comes to the disabled it is important to understand that many times their needs are different than those who are not disabled.
One of the most publicized concerns about health care options for the disabled is the right to die. In the case of Terri Shiavo, the right to die was not left up to her, but instead battled out in the courts, and the public eye between her husband and her parents. It was a classic example of why it is important to provide and protect health care options for the disabled. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the decision that was made in that case, one cannot argue about the importance of having health care stages available for the disabled in this country (Health, 2005).
"Before Terri Schiavo, there was Robert Wendland in California. Both his wife and mother agreed that Mr. Wendland was not in a persistent vegetative state, and that he had not left clear and convincing evidence of his wishes. Nevertheless, his wife argued that she should be able to remove his tube feeding anyway, and Dr. Ron Cranford was on the scene to support her. A state statute, based on a national model health care decisions code, gave her the right to starve and dehydrate him, and forty-three bioethicists filed a friend of the court brief in agreement.
Ten disability rights organizations filed against the general presumption that no one would want to live with his disabilities, being used to justify lowering constitutional protections of his life. Ultimately, the California Supreme Court agreed with us that his life could not be taken without clear and convincing evidence of his wishes (Health, 2005)."
These two cases bring to light the extreme importance of having clear cut health care stage options for the disabled who cannot always speak for themselves.
Even when they can speak for themselves however, it is still important to provide them with an understanding of their health care options and stages that can impact their disability (Health, 2005).
The costs of health care for the disabled is a hotly debated topic as well, but the primary concern of those who advocate for health care for the disabled is the quality and quantity of available services (Congressional, 2005).
What are the stages?
There are many stages of health care available to the disabled patient. Whether the disabled patient is able to care for himself or not comes into play when choosing and planning the health care path that best suits that patient's needs.
Whether the patient is a child, a teenager an adult or a senior also weighs on the decision about how best to cover the health care needs of that person.
One of the services that is offered through the health care system for the disabled is home health care (Stuckey, 2005). Often times disabled individuals would not be able to live on their own if the home health care workers were not able to come into their home. Disabled people who have terminal illnesses such as cancer can sign up for a Hospice service. Hospice provides an in home health care provider to visit the patient and the family in the home of the patient. While there the worker takes vital statistics, talks with the patient and family and determines if different medications are needed.
The home health care provider in the case of the disabled and Hospice also helps prepare the family for the death of the patient. This service is provided regardless of the patient's age or income.
One of the problems with the health care system available to the disabled is the pay rate. It is difficult for companies to retain good help when the wages are so low.
'Two unions _ the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees _ say low pay is common among the 300,000 home care workers who have government contracts nationwide. The unions are trying to organize workers in Maryland and other states (Stuckey, 2005).
If it weren't for the daily visits from home health care worker Linda Davis, Donald Barnes believes he would be living in a nursing home rather than his own apartment.
"She fixes me food. She makes sure I take my medicine like I'm supposed to. She makes sure I'm bathed and have clean clothes to put on," said Barnes, a 64-year-old stroke victim. "If I didn't have her, I'd just be a lost soul (Stuckey, 2005)."
Davis is among 3,000 home aides working under contracts with the state of Maryland to help about 5,000 people with disabilities. The aides are paid, at most, $50 a day (Stuckey, 2005).
"Home care workers usually make minimum wage or just above minimum wage," said Howard Croft, who oversees the national organizing campaign for SEIU (Stuckey, 2005)."
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich has offered a 10% increase in pay in his proposed budget, but home care workers say that's not enough. Most have had no pay increases since 1986 and receive no health benefits, sick days or retirement (Stuckey, 2005).
"I've been working 23 years now. I've seen the money go up a couple of dollars," said Theresa Bates-Atugah, who takes care of two clients in Baltimore. She said she earns $5 to $6 an hour (Stuckey, 2005).
In addition to health services the disabled often have access to other services as well. One of the services that is often offered to the disabled is the social work service. Social workers are brought in many times to oversee the care and health of the disabled client and to be sure that proper forms are filled out and applications for benefits applied for in time. A social worker acts as the liaison between the client and the health care system to be sure the services are being delivered as ordered and as needed (Abrams, 2005).
Medicaid is a system that is set up to assist the disabled receive proper medical care. The disabled who are on Medicaid carry Medicaid cards and use them whenever they receive services. The level of care and number of visits and cost for the visits is decided by several criteria requirements and handled through a social worker or ssi worker. In the effort to better facilitate the disabled some states have begun revamping their systems (Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov/).