In numerous approaches, the world is progressively turning into a transgender-affable place with enhanced awareness and reception. Nevertheless, among the many problems that transgender patients experience is obtaining suitable medical care. Almost 30% of transgender patients report denial of healthcare services and approximately 50% experience delayed medical attention because of the fear of discrimination (Gupta, Imborek, & Krasowski, 2016). Transgender patients require healthcare professionals who are conversant with their experiences and who can treat them with utmost respect and dignity.
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Challenges Faced By Transgender Patients within Healthcare
There are numerous challenges to proper healthcare for transgender patients. For example, societal prejudice and stigmatization, over and above discriminatory approaches in health facilities, have led to reduced access to sufficient care. The majority of physicians have not obtained training regarding the therapeutic requirements of transgender patients (Safer et al., 2016). Moreover, healthcare professionals might lack sensitivity to transgender concerns, for example, the need to inquire concerning favorite pronouns and names. In most instances, laboratory information systems and electronic health records bar gender identifications past assigned sex, hence leading to incorrect details of transgender patients.
Numerous challenges arise for transgender patients attributable to legal changes in their sex identifications to correspond to their avowed gender. For instance, the structural procedure of most electronic health records is set according to a patient’s recorded sex, which makes it hard to request a prostate ultrasound on a trans-woman or establish a pregnancy process for a trans-man (Gupta et al., 2016). In 2011, the working group on electronic health records organized by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health board suggested that demographic variables on such medical documentation systems should encompass preferred name, ascribed sex at birth, gender distinctiveness, and pronoun inclination. Other practical concerns in healthcare settings encompass the inadequate provision of unisex restrooms in outpatient units and problems linked to the sharing of rooms in inpatient settings.
Impact of Discrimination from Healthcare Providers on the Transgender Community
Making visits to emergency rooms in hospitals in search of medical care can make any patient feel susceptible. Nonetheless, the experience is often more distressing for transgender patients. Gaps in healthcare professionals’ knowledge concerning transgender patients create ambiguity concerning the provision of discrimination-free, competent care. This results in worrying statistics regarding the welfare of such patients. At present, about 1% of the population of the United States identifies as transgender (Jaffee, Shires, & Stroumsa, 2016). It has been established that the transgender population experiences disproportionately high levels of sickness and death attributable to extensive reluctance to seek emergency treatment or just normal checkups due to concerns regarding the quality of care.
Alleviation of the Issue
Proper healthcare for transgender patients is restricted by a deficiency of medical insurance and other ways of paying for the required care, for example, treatment of gender dysphoria (Gupta et al., 2016). Reinforcement of the Affordable Care Act, which redefines sex and encompasses gender identity, by safeguarding the rights of transgender patients and stringently prohibiting sex-anchored discrimination in the health sector, will play a vital role in the alleviation of the issue. This should be combined with programs that increase awareness of transgender patients and encourage health professionals, organizations, and hospitals to offer access to vital preventative practices and treatments such as Pap smear for trans-men and mammograms for trans-women when the need arises. Strengthening the law and implementation of programs to address challenges encountered by transgender patients should be strictly monitored and mandate coverage for gender transition services, encompassing cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgical procedures. Such practices will assist transgender patients and healthcare professionals to overcome the challenges of insufficient training and discrimination.
Ensuring that Transgender Patients Do Not Experience Discrimination or Ambivalence
As the transgender population attains cultural visibility, directives and suggestions for health care and treatment are anticipated to become more complicated and wide-ranging. Nevertheless, some fundamental aspects should be tackled to ensure that transgender patients do not experience ambivalence and discrimination and envision the objective of upholding the utmost standards of care. Formal training of laboratory personnel, doctors, nurses, and other health providers should be the first step towards the realization of optimal healthcare provision to transgender patients (Jaffee et al., 2016). There is a need for every health facility to integrate the required training in the needs of transgender patients, in addition to the provision of inclusive structural establishments, for example, unisex restrooms.
Electronic health records and laboratory information systems should create room for the designation of sex ascribed at birth, transgender identity, and favorite name. Such changes will not only prevent discrimination and ambivalence experienced by transgender patients but will also ease the work of pathology professionals and other caregivers. In laboratory procedures, there is a need for extensive research to ascertain reference ranges for suitable tests for trans-women and trans-men (Safer et al., 2016). Such practices will enable transgender patients to capitalize on their overall well-being, psychological health, and self-actualization.
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Societal bigotry, stigmatization, and discriminatory approaches in hospitals have led to decreased access to adequate care for transgender patients. The transgender population experiences excessively high levels of sickness and death caused by extensive reluctance to seek treatment and checkups due to concerns about quality care. There is a need for increased awareness and sufficient training of healthcare professionals to ensure that transgender patients do not experience discrimination and that they are treated with utmost respect and dignity.
Gupta, S., Imborek, K. L., & Krasowski, M. D. (2016). Challenges in transgender healthcare: The pathology perspective. Laboratory Medicine, 47(3), 180-188.
Jaffee, K. D., Shires, D. A., & Stroumsa, D. (2016). Discrimination and delayed health care among transgender women and men. Medical Care, 54(11), 1010-1016.
Safer, J. D., Coleman, E., Feldman, J., Garofalo, R., Hembree, W., Radix, A., & Sevelius, J. (2016). Barriers to health care for transgender individuals. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity, 23(2), 168-171.