The elderly require timely and sustainable medical services since they encounter diverse health problems. Unfortunately, the majority of them face discrimination when seeking or trying to get the best medical support. This paper presents three parts that focus on the issue of ageism bias and how it affects the quality of health services available to the elderly. The first part describes the experiences studied in class and how they will impact my nursing practice. The second one gives a detailed analysis of some of the aging biases I have witnessed in my unit. The third section presents a detailed community education plan that can guide and empower more people to overcome this issue.
Discussion and My Nursing Practice
The experiences and issues studied in class explain why ageism can affect the delivery of medical services to older adults. Barslund, von Werder, and Zaidi (2019) define the term as any kind of prejudice, stereotype, or discriminatory behavior against the elderly. From the class discussions, it is agreeable that some professionals promote this kind of misbehavior while others are usually against it. According to the studied materials, ageism makes it impossible for nurse practitioners (NPs) to provide timely, sustainable, or personalized medical services. Some health professionals fail to present evidence-based procedures that can result in positive health outcomes.
Ageism has, therefore, remained a reality in the global healthcare sector. This means that nurses and other professionals should be ready to address this gap and engage in better practices that can empower members of this at-risk population. Personally, I have appreciated such experiences and used them as powerful guidelines for transforming my philosophy of nursing.
Firstly, I have realized that ageism is a major problem in every healthcare setting. Many nurses prefer pediatric wards or units associated with young individuals. Those providing care to the elderly tend to be unmotivated or unwilling to offer exemplary services. They also minimize the level of communication due to this issue of age discrimination. This kind of knowledge will guide me to be involved and willing to identify all patients above the age of 60.
It will be appropriate to form teams and groups with my colleagues in order to offer high-quality care to our patients (Buttigieg, 2016). This professional change will transform the current situation and ensure that positive outcomes are recorded.
Secondly, I will be on the frontline to advocate for the elderly in my current organization. I will do so by encouraging and guiding my colleagues to put the needs of these individuals first. I will request the facility to have a unit for providing specialized services and support to the elderly. The targeted ward will have the right systems for preventing falls and empowering members of this population (Ben-Harush et al., 2017). This kind of approach will make it possible for the greatest number of elderly patients to receive high-quality medical support and care.
Thirdly, I am focusing on the most appropriate strategies that will guide me to improve my attitude regarding the needs and experiences of the elderly. I will achieve this objective by engaging in continuous learning in an attempt to acquire additional ideas and procedures for empowering the targeted patients. I will get rid of every stereotype and begin to treat the elderly with respect. I will offer timely services, encourage family members to be involved, and promote the power of culturally competent care.
These new efforts or practices will make it easier for me to transform my nursing philosophy and continue to offer better services (Barslund et al., 2019). I will ensure that members of my team consider similar personal developments in order to get rid of ageism bias in our unit.
The problem of age discrimination remains a major obstacle in every care delivery process. Personally, I have encountered various events and cases that discourage both caregivers and patients from addressing this problem. The first case occurred when I was working with two elderly nurses. Due to the issue of workforce shortage, the employer had requested such professionals to continue fulfilling the health needs of the increasing number of patients (Barslund et al., 2019).
These professionals were competent and willing to share their experiences with the other members of our team. Unfortunately, such nurses reported cases of age discrimination from their colleagues. Consequently, they became disoriented and uncooperative in the unit. The final outcome was that many patients failed to get high-quality medical services.
The second one occurred when one of my workmates was supposed to provide additional support and care to an elderly patient. The nurse was unwilling to communicate effectively with the targeted individual. He even failed to provide evidence-based guidelines regarding the effective use of bedside alarms. I reproached the medical professional and encouraged him to put the needs of the patient first. This kind of malpractice reflects the challenges and problems many patients have to go through when seeking medical services from different hospitals or clinics (Buttigieg, 2016). This means that there is a need for all caregivers and nurses to be aware of the dangers of ageism and how they affect the quality of services available to the greatest number of patients.
The third example of ageism was observed when a specific team avoided the use of invasive medical processes or treatment procedures. According to the group leader, such a method appeared risky and capable of presenting additional complications. Some members went further to argue that the elderly patient required compassionate care and support. Although this agreement might have been informed by the risks associated with old age, I viewed it as a form of prejudice since the invasive technique could have resulted in better health outcomes.
The patient eventually died within less than a week. This means that evidence-based medical procedures should be available to all people irrespective of age, gender, or race (Buttigieg, 2016). This kind of knowledge will empower and make it possible for more caregivers to focus on the changing demands and needs of their patients.
Finally, I have identified several care delivery procedures and practices that are deemed or believed to be inappropriate for elderly citizens. In my unit, many nurses believe that members of this population are usually frail and incapable of recovering within a short period. Those who are providing medical care to the elderly will tend to feel unmotivated or withdrawn (Barslund et al., 2019). Some will only identify or elect standard procedures that have the potential to deliver better health outcomes. This is a clear indication that such professionals avoid the concept of personalized care. The end result is that many patients tend to be re-hospitalized or take long before recording positive health outcomes.
Community Education Plan
This community education plan presents evidence-based ideas for addressing aging bias. People who consider or follow these suggestions will be able to record positive outcomes within a short period. Communities that take these insights seriously will support their elderly members and eventually record positive health outcomes.
Defining Ageism Bias
- This term identifies discriminatory behaviors, stereotypes, and prejudices against elderly individuals.
- Poor health experiences for the elderly.
- The victims will find it hard to engage in community-based projects, activities, or events.
- Community members might decide to treat the elderly as outcasts or wizards.
- Young people will not obey or listen to the elderly in the affected community.
Minimizing Ageism Bias
- Members of the community should foster and establish a multigenerational culture. This practice will ensure that all people respect one another, make decisions that promote the welfare of the elderly, and share positive values.
- People should always promote desirable attitudes and practices. Members of the targeted community should pursue these key principles: love, respect, honesty, and empowerment (Ben-Harush et al., 2017). These values will make it possible for all people to live harmoniously and improve their experiences.
- Parents should guide their young children to focus on the needs of the elderly and support them when necessary. This desirable approach should be implemented from the family setting. Such a practice will ensure that ageism is no longer a problem.
- Every person in the community needs to put the needs of the elderly first. This approach is desirable since every person will age at some point in life (Ben-Harush et al., 2017). The targeted outcome is to address the challenges associated with ageism bias.
- Community organizers and social workers should always respond to the needs of these citizens. Members of every region should remain supportive and continue to advocate for their rights and medical demands.
- Medical professionals and nurses in health clinics, hospitals, and dispensaries should be empowered and willing to tackle this problem. Since these facilities are essential in every community, they will become good examples for minimizing ageism bias and empowering more citizens to achieve their health goals.
- Social events and community-based activities that promote cohesion and inclusivity are essential (Buttigieg, 2016). These approaches can encourage members of every region to communicate freely, understand the issues affecting their neighbors, and work together to implement sustainable practices.
- These measures will make it possible for the elderly to achieve their economic and health objectives.
- The targeted individuals will be willing to participate in a wide range of activities that are beneficial to the entire community.
- A new tradition will emerge that supports the welfare and outcomes of all people in the selected society (Buttigieg, 2016).
- Continuous learning processes will become common to encourage and empower more people to tackle this problem of ageism bias.
The above sections have identified and described ageism as malpractice capable of affecting the experiences and health outcomes of elderly members of every community. The outlined issues and observations should become powerful guidelines for encouraging clinicians and nurses to develop superior philosophies that advocate for the rights and experiences of older adults. The implementation of the presented community education plan will inform more people about the challenges of ageism and the most appropriate strategies to transform the current situation. Such initiatives will support the need of the elderly and make it easier for them to lead high-quality lives.
Barslund, M., von Werder, M., & Zaidi, A. (2019). Inequality in active ageing: Evidence from a new individual-level index for European countries. Ageing & Society, 39(3), 541-567. Web.
Ben-Harush, A., Shiovitz-Ezra, S., Doron, I., Alon, S., Leibovitz, A., Golander, H., … Ayalon, L. (2017). Ageism among physicians, nurses, and social worker: Findings from a qualitative study. European Journal of Ageing, 14(1), 39-48. Web.
Buttigieg, S. C. (2016). Current challenges of ageing and ageism with a focus on healthcare and long-term care. Gerontology & Geriatrics: Research, 2(3), 1-3.