le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

Wishing you a healthy thanksgiving

I just want to wish all of you a great Thanksgiving!  Hope it went well and that you didn't get too stuffed! :)


Always appreciate Grandma's help!



I love sharing books and readings that I'm currently doing, and here is one that I'm reading and reviewing right now:


I've taken quite a few ethics courses throughout my education and career.  It has always been a foundation working with clients, patients, students, professionals, and the public.  As the health field requires continuing education and staying abreast with current policies and new developments, understanding an individual's relationship to different systems is important when developing tools to assist the public.  Many times research and regulations are complicated and require a strong background to grasp the ideas and content.
Professionals know the concepts like the back of their hand.  However, presenting them to an audience may not be as easy to convey.  How many of us remember a time when we'd be in a class and the professor/teacher (who clearly knows the material) rambles on while the entire class (minus a few students) look befuddled?  It's one thing to understand the topic, but it's another thing for professionals to ensure that they can reach the audience's level.
Before that happens, professionals should establish a safe and open environment for learning and discussion.  Most likely the audience will come from different backgrounds (cultural, religious, age, and education to name a few) and it will be nearly impossible to target everyone's needs in a single presentation.  That's when the role of facilitator and communicator comes in.  Keeping the discussion open allows participants to ask questions and hopefully have their concerns addressed.  For example, a presentation could cover prescription benefits.  Some people will ask about comprehensive plans that can ensure that they will have access to their medication.  Most likely the professional will be addressing participants who utilize these benefits for high blood pressure or diabetes.  Other participants might not need prescription benefits as urgently, but may rather want to address out-of-network benefits.  The participant may want more options and access to specialists (such as a neurologist or a specialized hospital for cancer) for themselves and their family members.
Obviously you can see that it's not as easy to have a " one size fits all" presentation.
Also consider government regulations and changes in policies which makes a complex discussion even harder to understand.  The most important thing to address is the needs of the audience/patient.  Many are familiar with the Hippocratic Oath which highlights a medical professional's role to practice within their jurisdiction, be respectful of a patient's autonomy, and to never do harm.


Behind every diagnosis or sickness lies a human being.  It may be the patient who's afraid of dying, a family member who's upset at the uncertainty of a prognosis, or a person trying to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.  In any case, I understood how important it was to not get burned out or to not become hardened when facing these cases on a daily basis.  I've always had an amazing team to work with and we all supported each other when we really needed help.  Professionals will not be able to handle everything, and it's important to value the input of a team member's ideas.  More likely than not, their ideas can help facilitate things.  We know our limits and shouldn't ignore it when the stress becomes heavy.


There are many things to juggle when working with a patient.  Federal and state laws play a significant role with how to approach practicing medicine and health.  They also adapt to a fluid climate.  Take America's current healthcare reform.  This initiative is moving to provide affordable healthcare for all Americans.  This plays a significant role in my research in health literacy.  Since there are people who have difficulty understanding medical terminology, prescription instructions, or complex medical forms, it's important to promote health literacy education to help create people who will become "knowledgeable consumers."  In the end, these are the people who will decide what plan, what doctor, what form of treatment, or what approach is right for them.


Everyone is different and as I had previous discussed, what is a focus for one individual or their family may not be the same for another.  So what can professionals do?


Provide resources and help the public navigate through their concerns.  It's important to keep an open communicative relationship.  Health can cover a lot of sensitive topics so being an open ear can make it easier for them to discuss issues such as not understanding medical procedures or asking about language barriers.


Throughout these cases, ethical issues will arise.  That's when professionals see that things are not "clear cut, black and white decisions."  When a doctor and patient encounter cases such as abortion or end of life care (withdrawing life support), decisions may not be illegal, but that's when ethical issues come in.  Everyone has different beliefs and different ways of approaching illnesses, birth, or other medical issues.


An approach that I had done when I worked with patients/clients in clinical therapy was to assess the needs of the patient, discuss what outcomes they expect or desire, and then work with them to create a plan that will provide maximum benefit to the patient/client.  It's not always that easy though.  There are those who have difficulty understanding practices and approaches so they may not have an easy time making a decision.  That's what inspired me to work with my mentor, Dr. Vennie Cowart so that populations will have access to the information that can help them make these complex decisions.


Certain cultures and religions may not agree with prescription medication or certain medical procedures.  That is perfectly fine.  As long as healthcare professionals provide options, create open communication between the patient (and their families) during the visit, and find ways to incorporate their culture with current medical practice, then that can create stronger trust with the healthcare system.  This will reduce chances of patients' harm (such as engaging in self medication without consultation) and work with them during their treatment process.


This is just a short discussion (I don't want to feel like I'm giving a lecture to my students haha), but it made me think a lot about the current American health climate as I'm reading about changes in insurance plans, services, and provider networks.  The decision making is becoming more complex, and I hope to see stronger changes in patient advocacy.


I know that there's been a lot of tension related to the current health reform measures, and I can understand the frustration that people are going through.  When people see these rules (which can be as clear as reading an ancient language), they will get upset and want answers.  If your loved one is hospitalized and you figure out that your insurance won't cover the hospital expenses, you will want to know why.  But many times prewritten rules are just regurgitated and it not only confuses every party involved, but it also muddles communication.


It will take a lot of reworking and analysis to smooth out the kinks in the system, but I hope that it will all work out for the best and the public will get the necessary health services that they need.

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