Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An awakening

Boomers are discovering something about the Canadian healthcare system, and the attitudes of many medical practitioners toward the elderly, as they help their parents get the care they need.

Until you need it, healthcare is just a word. Sure, you read about the deficiencies of the healthcare system, the wait times, the concerns about sustainability, but it's not really part of your world until you see it up close.

When you do see it up close, it's often a shock. I can personally attest to observing hospital staff who are uncaring, insensitive, just going through the motions. I have seen physicians who clearly wanted to just get an older person out of the way so they could treat someone they considered more deserving of their attentions. I have heard first hand accounts, some from other physicians, of serial misdiagnosis of seniors' ailments and inappropriate prescriptions.

My uncle spent a week in a hospital corridor, only being admitted to a room after my cousin raised bloody hell. I watched a hospital staffer throw a meal tray down in front of my centenarian mother, without adjusting her bed so she could reach it.

I suspect that everyone with an elderly parent has witnessed this sort of thing, experienced the sense that older folks are just taking up expensive space and consuming scarce resources that would be better spent on young folks who aren't going to die in the next few years.

These healthcare workers don't seem to grasp that, with any luck, they'll be elderly soon enough, and are contributing to an ethic that will come back to haunt them when they, inevitably, need healthcare.

The boomers are paying attention, though. They know that their parents' problems will be theirs in 20 years. I expect that, as they have always done, they will make some noise.

1 comment:

  1. That's hopeful, Doug.

    From what I've seen, old age is often frightening and full of pain.

    If I'm still playing with all of my marbles I promise I'll be at the sit in. Don't forget your guitar!