Long-term medical care in America has been long-term. The chronology of long term care has been widely published in articles and books ranging from how it has grown from inadequate facilities, staff, financial support to care for the old, sick, and needy in America to the introduction of regulations that have brought about tremendous changes and improvements in Medicare (Zinn, 1999).
The article A good look back over our shoulder is an amazing article that takes us into an exploration of the great steps to achieving a convenient and far better long term medical care in America than it was in the past 100 years, long term financing, and how it was addressed, how the country has improved the care of the old and addressed the housing of her citizens. It further reveals the importance of keeping an efficient staff and ensuring that all nursing homes caring for the aging and the aged have a homelike and safe environment, clean environment, and healthy food.
The development over the years in the healthcare system has witnessed certain reforms put in place. The earlier state of affairs in the nursing homes could be considered as poor and unbearable as the almshouses. Several issues in the article are, however, surprising. To begin with, the neglect of the old and the aging especially those who do not have relatives and friends to take care of is one grave issue (Zinn, 1999).
Earlier on before the reforms, it is observed that they were left at the mercy of the almshouses mingling with all kinds of people from drunkards to prostitutes, orphans, the mentally retarded, and criminals. Leaving them helpless in the hands of these people and the poor conditions of almshouses not properly managed is cruel.
It is important to note that the shocking cruelty is seen in the lack of nursing care, poor clothing and food, deteriorating sanitation, and the fact that some are left to die because that is what will eventually happen. In some areas, the neglect goes to the extent that there is a lack of trained staff to take care of them (Mohammed & Spellmann, 1987). The old and the ailing groups are left in the mercies of untrained persons. The trained nurses perhaps grumbling about the low pay are unwilling to apply for jobs of treating and caring for the aging
Secondly, how some staff in almshouses behaves is equally shocking. They complain of low pay but upon getting, they squander on liquor and wild living, forget work ethics and in their state seek to sleep next to the dead if no spaces are left among the sick (Zinn, 1999).
In some cases, they even go ahead and dismiss or refuse to admit into the nursing homes the aging who have vision problems and those with brain tumor problems. Some directors want only those they think would give them easy time handling and they don’t take disfigured or crippled people (Mohammed & Spellmann, 1987).
The introduction of regulations into nursing homes has had some tremendous impacts. Had the situation been left the way it was in the beginning, the old and the aging would have been suffering a great deal today. Anyone would gladly celebrate the introduction of regulations because this has improved the conditions of the whole health care practice in the nursing homes (Andrea & Jeffrey, 2011). First, it has ensured that there are enough medical attendants to the patients.
Instead of neglecting the patients, supervision is now being done both in the wards and bedsides; the conditions of those homes are human enough as well as adequate food and better sanitation.
On the contrary, the earlier experience was marred with untrained staff in the nursing homes. The regulations did away with that practice ensuring there are quality care, staff, and food handlers. Furthermore, through the improvement of these nursing homes, it is reported that a good number of the sick have been able to recover and have gone back to their families (Andrea & Jeffrey, 2011). This is a notable success.
To recap, the history of long-term care has significantly assisted in creating awareness of the need to have quality services in the healthcare system. Health centers have been able to improve their services to the sick, the aging, and the old. The government has set aside funds, and some nursing homes make profits from the services offered. This is used to improve the conditions of nursing homes.
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Andrea, B. & Jeffrey, C. (2011). Early Response to Psychotherapy and Long-Term Change in Worry Symptoms in Older Adults With Generalized Anxiety Disorder. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 19(4): 347–356.
Mohammed N. N. & Spellmann M. (1987) Thoracolumbosacral laminectomy in achondroplasia: Long-term results in 22 patients. American Journal of Medical Genetics. 19(2), 433–444.
Zinn, L. (1999). A good look back over our shoulders. Nursing Homes & Long Term Care Management, 48(12): 20-54.