Health Resource Allocation and the Elderly
Growing old is an undeniable aspect of life for all human beings. However, America has repeatedly been accused of being a nation which does not care adequately for its elderly population, instead focusing eternally on the young. In order to be a more humane, sensitive society, one could argue that we need to focus on our most vulnerable populations, and the elderly definitely make up a large portion of that population. One manner in which to treat the elderly population in a more humane and dignified manner would be to re-evaluate the allocation of resources of society, so that the elderly are more likely to be on the receiving end of the goods, services and medications that they need.
However, when it comes to things which are slightly more controverstial, such as ICU beds, resource allocation can fall into a sort of gray area. To select an ICU bed to be given to one patient over the other, based solely on the ages of the patients can be accused to be some sort of discrimination. Thus, there need to be other factors involved when it comes to the just and moral allocation of resources. As one expert argues that the...
In one particular study, many of the elderly patients didn't want to receive resuscitation (25%) (Brock & Wikler, 2013). Thus, to allocate resources to these patients based solely on their age would exhibit flagrant disregard for their wishes and would ultimately amount to a waste of resources. This study does lend support to the responsibility and necessity of allocating resrouces to the elderly on a case by case basis when it comes to things like the ICU.
On the other hand, what about when it comes to things like the general allocation of resources, such as policies made by legislators? Those who oppose rationing resources to the elderly use economics and "logic" as a means of supporting their argument. "Implicit in this argument is the principle that elderly health care represents an investment of scarce resources with limited returns. In addition, this argument reflects an intuitive conclusion that an older person has less chance of achieving…
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