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What does ageism look like in health care? It can be a thoughtless joke that makes an older person feel diminished. Or an assumption that patients are unable to follow a conversation or make their own decisions. Maybe it happens when a concern is raised and then dismissed or dismissed.
Ageism is reflected in care strategies that ignore the patient’s values ââand ideas about what constitutes a productive life. Too often attitudes such as “these patients are old and nearing the end anyway” or “there isn’t much we can do to help them” prevail.
Ageism is nothing new, but the covid pandemic has shockingly highlighted it. In its early days, the virus was ignored as a concern primarily for the elderly, with some arguing that it was consumable if the alternative shut down the economy. In the severe months that followed, many people who died in nursing care were dehumanized in reports showing body bags piled up outside the facilities. To date, around 80% of those who have died from covid-19 have been seniors, including nearly 140,000 nursing home residents – a population plagued by understaffing, inadequate infection control and disease. negligence.
KHN and the John A. Hartford Foundation hosted a web event on Thursday. Judith Graham, Navigating Aging columnist for KHN, moderated the discussion. She was joined by:
- Dr Louise Aronson, geriatrician, professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco and author of “Elderhood”.
- Dr Michael Wasserman, geriatrician, advocate for vulnerable seniors during the pandemic and head of the public policy committee of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine.
- Dr Javette Orgain, family physician and medical director of the Longevity Health Plan of Illinois, which serves residents of nursing homes; past president of the National Medical Association, which represents African American physicians and their patients; and former Assistant Dean of the University of Illinois-Chicago Urban Health Program.
- Dr Rebecca Elon, geriatrician and caregiver for her mother, who suffers from dementia, and her husband, who died earlier this year.
- Jess maurer, lawyer and executive director of the Maine Council on Aging, which promotes anti-ageism commitment.
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