October 21, 2021 — Ageism in health care? Is that a thing? You better believe it! And none of us is getting younger.
Here is the story: a panel of experts moderated by my friend Judy Graham of Kaiser Health News, Confronting Ageism in Health Care: A Conversation for Patients, Caregivers and Clinicians.
It presents statistics and issues as well as several personal stories that make the facts and figures real. It’s an hour and a half and well worth it especially if, like me, you are old, or caring for someone who is. Or planning to be old some day.
How does health care fail us oldsters?
- We are often not involved in decisions.
- It is assumed that we are incompetent or cognitively compromised.
- We are often not heard and often not treated as fully human.
- We are omitted from clinical trials though new drugs and procedures are given to us anyway.
- Most medical education does not require training in geriatrics.
- It is often assumed that infirmity and pain are inevitable as we age and thus do not warrant attention.
- Another common assumption is that eventual relegation to institutions such as SNFs is inevitable.
- “Old people consume a disproportionate share of health care dollars.” But do we complain that children consume a disproportionate share of education dollars?
These are some of the negative results and claims of ageism and ageists in health care.
Judy’s panel talks about what ageism is and what we can do about it. On both sides of the stethoscope, this is a crucial issue.