Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Ageism by Health Care Providers?

A couple of weeks ago, CNN ran this article, Seniors decry age bias, say they feel devalued when interacting with health care providers.

In health care settings, ageism can be explicit. An example: plans for rationing medical care ("crisis standards of care") that specify treating younger adults before older adults. Embedded in these standards, now being implemented by hospitals in Idaho and parts of Alaska and Montana, is a value judgment: Young peoples' lives are worth more because they presumably have more years left to live.
Justice in Aging, a legal advocacy group, filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in September, charging that Idaho's crisis standards of care are ageist and asking for an investigation.
Implicit bias is also an issue.
In other instances, ageism is implicit. Dr. Julie Silverstein, president of the Atlantic division of Oak Street Health, gives an example of that: doctors assuming older patients who talk slowly are cognitively compromised and unable to relate their medical concerns. If that happens, a physician may fail to involve a patient in medical decision-making, potentially compromising care, Silverstein said. Oak Street Health operates more than 100 primary care centers for low-income seniors in 18 states.
The article features several experiences of patients and then notes that "[n]early 20% of Americans ages 50 and older say they have experienced discrimination in health care settings, according to a 2015 report, and it can result in inappropriate or inadequate care. One study estimates that the annual health cost of ageism in America, including over- and undertreatment of common medical conditions, totals $63 billion."
This is an important article to read. Thanks to my friend Professor Kaplan, for ending me the link to the story.

Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink


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