Awareness of and attitude of elderly subjects regarding health care and welfare in rapidly ageing population in Japan.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to obtain information on the degree of knowledge and understanding about the current systems of health care and welfare held by the elderly, in order to achieve comprehensiveness in family practice. METHOD: We conducted a study on the awareness of healthy elderly persons by direct interview. The study was carried out in Kuni Village in a remote mountainous region in Japan, where the elderly population accounts for 24.8% of the total population. The subjects were self-dependent in their daily living activities and were aged 65 years and older. RESULTS: The subjects' knowledge of health care and welfare systems was generally good, and the degree of their utilization of these systems was also good. But 83.3% of those who did not want to utilize the welfare system indicated their preference to depend on their family for support. CONCLUSION: Family physicians must endeavour to offer comprehensive care to their patients by including these systems for rapidly ageing communities. (+info)
Mediators of ethnic-associated differences in infant birth weight.
PURPOSE: To examine whether ethnic differences in low birth weight babies of low-income women may be explained in part by group differences in prenatal health behaviors and psychosocial factors. METHODS: A prospective, survey of 1,071 low-income, primiparous African-American and Mexican-origin women was conducted in Los Angeles County, California. In face-to-face interviews, data were obtained on substance use, prenatal stress, social support, attitudes toward pregnancy, initiation of prenatal care, and medical risk. Medical chart data were abstracted regarding medical risk factors and labor, delivery, and neonatal data. Interview data were linked with birth outcome data retrieved from maternal medical records. Structural equation modeling was used to test a hypothesized model in which differences in birth weight were expected to be mediated by ethnic differences in substance use, psychosocial factors, and medical risk. RESULTS: As expected, African-American women delivered babies of earlier gestational age and lower birth weight than did women of Mexican origin. Direct predictors of low birth weight were use of drugs and cigarettes, prenatal stress, and positive attitudes toward pregnancy; together, these factors accounted for the observed ethnic differences in birth weight. CONCLUSION: These data contribute to our understanding of the factors that may account for ethnic-associated differences in low birth weight. (+info)
Developing communality: family-centered programs to improve children's health and well-being.
Despite decades of enormous investment in research and public programs, the United States continues to face pandemics of preventable health problems such as low birth weight, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and interpersonal violence. With some justification, these problems have been blamed on the failings of families. The reasons why families may function poorly in their child-rearing roles have not been coherently or vigorously addressed by our social policies; sometimes these policies have aggravated the problems. This paper provides background to allow a better understanding of families' role in the social determination of children's health, and argues for programs and policies that assist families through the creation of social supports embedded in communities that are characterized by trust and mutual obligation. (+info)
Health of the elderly in a community in transition: a survey in Thiruvananthapuram City, Kerala, India.
Results of a survey to assess the health and functional status of the elderly (defined as those who are 60 years or older) in Thiruvananthapuram city, the capital of Kerala state, India, are discussed. As the process of development results in longevity without concomitant economic success, traditional support systems break down. The differences in status of the elderly dependent on gender and socioeconomic class are highlighted. Women are poorer and generally suffer more morbidity than men in old age, even though their death rates are lower. The better-off among the elderly enjoy a quality of life much superior to their poor brethren. Thus, in transitional societies such as Kerala, socioeconomic status and gender play a significant role in determining the quality of life of the elderly, a finding which may have some policy implications. (+info)
Impact of litigation on senior clinicians: implications for risk management.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the impact of litigation on consultants and senior registrars and to establish their views on methods of reducing adverse events and litigation. DESIGN: Postal survey. SETTING: Acute hospitals in the North Thames (West) Regional Health Authority. SUBJECTS: 1011 consultants and senior registrars in acute hospitals. MAIN MEASURES: Perceived causes and effects of adverse events; views on methods of reducing litigation and adverse events. RESULTS: 769 (76%) doctors responded. 288 (37%) had been involved in litigation at some point during their career; 213 surgeons (49%) and 75 (23%) doctors in the medical specialties. Anger, distress, and feeling personally attacked were common responses to litigation. Clinicians' views on reducing litigation emphasised the need for change at the clinical level. Supervision of junior staff, workload, and training in communication skills were to the fore. CONCLUSIONS: The high frequency of doctors who have experienced litigation and the emotional responses described indicate that clinicians require support at several levels. At a personal level, support can be offered to clinicians going through the litigation process or after an adverse event. Also, managerial support is needed by offering financial and practical help in correcting the factors that have been consistently identified as producing high risk situations to minimise the possibility of a reoccurrence. Accidents in medicine are, by their very nature, costly in human and financial terms and the root causes must be tackled. Recommendations are made for clinicians and risk management teams. (+info)
Alzheimer's disease in the United Kingdom: developing patient and carer support strategies to encourage care in the community.
Alzheimer's disease is a growing challenge for care providers and purchasers. With the shift away from the provision of long term institutional care in most developed countries, there is a growing tendency for patients with Alzheimer's disease to be cared for at home. In the United Kingdom, this change of direction contrasts with the policies of the 1980s and 90s which focused more attention on controlling costs than on assessment of the needs of the patient and carer and patient management. In recent years, the resources available for management of Alzheimer's disease have focused on institutional care, coupled with drug treatment to control difficult behaviour as the disease progresses. For these reasons, the current system has led to crisis management rather than preventive support--that is, long term care for a few rather than assistance in the home before the crises occur and institutional care is needed. Despite recent innovations in the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease, the nature of the support that patients and carers receive is poorly defined and sometimes inadequate. As a result of the shift towards care in the community, the informal carer occupies an increasingly central role in the care of these patients and the issue of how the best quality of care may be defined and delivered is an issue which is now ripe for review. The objective of this paper is to redefine the type of support that patients and carers should receive so that the disease can be managed more effectively in the community. The needs of patients with Alzheimer's disease and their carers are many and this should be taken into account in defining the quality and structure of healthcare support. This paper shows how new initiatives, combined with recently available symptomatic drug treatment, can allow patients with Alzheimer's disease to be maintained at home for longer. This will have the dual impact of raising the quality of care for patients and improving the quality of life for their carers. Moreover, maintaining patients in a home environment will tend to limit public and private expenditure on institutional care due to a possible delay in the need for it. (+info)
Chronic ambulatory outpatients and four-vector management.
Many psychiatrist and other mental healthcare professionals consider the availability of atypical antipsychotic drugs a welcome advance in the treatment of schizophrenia. Atypical agents have show to be effective against both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and in general, their efficacy makes patients more responsive to rehabilitation efforts. Although drugs are a cornerstone of treatment, optimal management of chronic ambulatory outpatients with schizophrenia also depends of psychosocial and other approaches. Still, noncompliance needs to be addressed as schizophrenia patients often fail to take their medications for a variety of reasons, including undesirable side effects and lack of insight or denial of having a mental disorder. A four-vector model for optimal management of chronic ambulatory outpatients includes the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual domains. Although the resources for providing comprehensive, forward-looking management are not universally available in many areas of the United States, clinicians should always strive for the ideal. (+info)
Massachusetts Medicaid and the Community Medical Alliance: a new approach to contracting and care delivery for Medicaid-eligible populations with AIDS and severe physical disability.
This paper discusses the origins and experiences of the Community Medical Alliance (CMA), a Boston-based clinical care system that contracts with the Massachusetts Medicaid program on a fully capitated basis to pay for and deliver a comprehensive set of benefits to individuals with advanced AIDS and individuals with severe disability. Since 1992, the program has enrolled 818 individuals with either severe disability, AIDS, mental retardation, or general SSI-qualifying disability. Under a fee-for-service system, these two groups had received fragmented care. The capitated CMA program emphasizes patient education and self-management strategies, social support and mental health services, and a team approach to healthcare delivery that has reoriented care to primary care physicians, homes, and communities. (+info)