According to the World report on aging and health, the health needs of people differ depending on such factors as gender and stages of life (Beard et al. 2016). In general, young men and women undergo significant pressures to achieve academic and social goals and to conform to social expectations. Usually, young people suffer from obesity, sexually transmitted infections, as well as smoking and alcohol drinking. These pressures are intensified as people mature.
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Chronic diseases, depressions, mental issues, and other factors impact the health of the population exceedingly. Though, men and women may undergo different processes considering that women at this stage of life are facing challenges as mothers and are pushed to balance between family and work commitments, which might lead to physical and mental disorders.
Mid-life is usually associated with the crucial hormonal changes, increasing rates of cancer diseases, musculoskeletal weakness, and mental disorders. As for elderly people, their health is closely connected with their financial insecurity. Many elderly people are institutionalized: they suffer from chronic illnesses, loneliness, multiple disabilities, and in general, have much worse health than young people do (Jecker, 2018, p. 3). Therefore, a question of whether national health care should accommodate to the needs of patients on the basis of a certain stage of life they are going through, as well as their opinion on the quality of medical services, is of the most significant concern.
Considering the issue stated by Sofaer and Firminger (2005), “The world of medical care was becoming increasingly difficult for patients to navigate” (p. 515), and further “Specialization led to fragmentation of care, an increasingly noticeable absence of care coordination, a little recognition that the patient was a whole multi-faceted human-being” (p. 516), it is necessary to turn to patients’ evaluations of medical approaches and their actual needs in different periods of their lives. In an attempt to receive an unbiased opinion on this matter, a friend of mine, a 52 years old woman, sales manager at a jewelry retailer, has been interviewed.
Q 1: Do you feel that your stage‐of‐life had any effect on your interaction with health care professionals?
A: As a matter of fact, healthcare professionals I have encountered lately demonstrated signs of implicit bias as any other person. The more often you show up, the less interested in your condition they seem. Their only remedy is steroid pills that are supposed to cure everything, including hair loss! Telling the truth, those doctors never manage to meet my expectations as well as they are not able to help.
Q 2: What expectations of yours they have failed to meet?
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A: First of all, I expected a more sophisticated treatment plan that should have included alternative methods comparing to oral medicines. I speak about a more sophisticated approach, including physiotherapy treatment, massage, psychotherapy, which are known to alleviate symptoms of illnesses such as mine.
Q 3: Was your family with you during this hospital stay or outpatient visit?
A: Yes, my husband always accompanies me when I have an appointment with the doctor, and I do the same for him.
Q 4: Was your family included in your treatment, such as post‐procedure instructions?
A: As I recall, my husband always willingly participated in the process of treatment and was given necessary instructions and recommendations, especially in severe cases. He helped much to communicate my needs to the doctors and other healthcare professionals. I felt less lonely while staying in hospital. I believe family involvement is of great importance.
Q 5: Do you recall any differences in your perceptions being in a previous stage of your life?
A: Of course, I was less concerned about my health, about this particular sphere of life in general. I used to work hard, and I never cared much about medical care. I remember I could easily neglect a doctor’s prescriptions, and nothing terrible happened to me. Now, everything seems to turn upside down. There were times I did not care about them, and now they seem not to care about me.
In conclusion, it is necessary to admit that there appears to be a significant disparity between a patient’s perceptions, expectations, and what has been offered to her. The only interview is undoubtedly insufficient to draw any conclusions, although it allows us to chart the course for further research by involving a mathematically crisp number of respondents.
Beard, J. R., Officer, A. M., & Cassels, A. K. (2016). The world report on aging and health. Gerontologist, 56(S2), S163-S166. Web.
Jecker, N. S. (2018). Age‐related inequalities in health and healthcare: the life stages approach. Developing World Bioethics, 18(2), 144-155.
Sofaer, S., & Firminger, K. (2005). Patient perceptions of the quality of health services. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, 513-559. Web.