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Health Care: History, Developments, and Problems Essay

Health care is necessary in every individual’s well-being. A lot of individuals require health care in one way or another, for, unfortunately, illness—not to mention old age and the disadvantages that come along with it—are inevitable. While it may seem rather frivolous to many, it is necessary to understand the various aspects of health care, as well as the related issues to it, for this will help pinpoint necessary information in the advent one needs to undergo hospitalization and long-term care. Understanding Nonprofit and For-profit Hospitals

The difference between nonprofit and for-profit hospitals is actually historical. Nonprofit hospitals are were originally found by religious organizations. In a sense, these hospitals are those which aim to help people out of kindness. It is stated that nonprofit hospitals tend to be more dedicated in caring for their patients because their motivation is to help people without expecting anything in return. However, one important issue regarding nonprofit hospitals is that their facilities and equipment may not be updated, for they are getting no returns for their service (Cutler, 2000).

On the other hand, for-profit hospitals are those hospitals which eventually emerged from nonprofit hospitals due to one important factor: profit. for-profit hospitals earn money and can afford to develop their health care programs, as well as provide better equipment and facilities in order to provide better service. Apart from this, for-profit hospitals can fund health education for its employees as well as fund medical research. However, it is stated that for-profit hospitals might skimp on health care. Since for-profit hospitals have “shareholders who demand the highest possible returns” (Cutler, 2000, p. ), there is a tendency for the hospital to be stingy with its services in order to provide the business demands of its shareholders (Cutler, 2000).

Trends in the Hospital Sector As the service of health care improved over time, a various amount of changes occurred. Currently, there are several trends in the hospital sector which are said to aim for organization improvement and better service. One of the most prominent trends in the hospital sectors is the consolidation of hospitals. This merging is done in order to ensure that some of the small hospitals are able to survive.

Apart from this, merging is a way to improve health care quality, as well as strengthen their financial and organizational capacity. This will also end the competition between hospitals whenever there are scarcities in resources (Laschober, Wiley & Gelband, 1995). Another trend in the hospital sector is the increasing number of doctors who specialize in various fields of practice. This only means that hospitals have decided to focus on creating a more efficient means of treatment for patients through hiring a wide range of specialists who can provide the appropriate health care needed by a patient. Laschober, Wiley & Gelband, 1995).

And lastly, the hospital sector has largely improved in its patient care through removing the hotel function of hospitals. Gone are the days that patients need to spend days lying on a hospital bed; there is now a significant increase in the volume of outpatient care and the trend is that patients who undergo same-day surgeries and are allowed to go home on the same day (Laschober, Wiley & Gelband, 1995).

Long-Term Care in Hospitals and Nursing Homes Nursing homes are residential settings for individuals who need assistance; commonly, individuals who are admitted into nursing homes are there due to poverty, advanced age, living alone, impaired mental status, loss of ability to take care of oneself, heart disease, and dementia. Primarily, the criterion is that the individual must be sick enough to need nursing care, but not sick enough that he or she requires hospitalization.

The long-term care plan in nursing home involves assisted-living facilities (focuses on providing all of the basic needs), special care units (different units created to address different needs of specific residents in the nursing home) and resident-centered care (addresses the need of patients for increased quality of life) (Miller, 2009). On the other hand, long-term care in hospitals is very different; usually, patients require an array of services which are dependent on the their changing condition. This is referred to as integrated care, wherein every single condition is addressed differently.

Also, unlike a nursing home, patients are not required to stay in for a long time in hospitals; they may eventually go to their homes under the care and supervision of home health agencies (Singh, 2010), whereas those who are admitted in nursing homes are predetermined to stay there. Also, the patient can move into different types of long-term care, depending on his or her condition—this can also mean that the services provided may either be long-term or non-long term (Singh, 2010). Long-term Care in the United States

As seen in the aforementioned discussion, long-term health care is undoubtedly important in ensuring that patients are well-cared for during times of illnesses and weakness. However, currently, the state of the long-term care policy in the United States is rather problematic. For example, long-term care benefits cannot be collected for the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program is still not running. The earliest predicted date when individuals can claim their benefits will be in 2017, which is a problem especially if some individuals need benefits to support their hospitalization and so on.

Apart from this, this health care policy concerning CLASS does not cover individuals who are not working, such as those who cannot work or retired (Andrews, 2010). Summary As seen in the aforementioned discussion, health care has come a long way from being provided by religious institutions. It has developed systems for the benefit of its patients, as well as new policies. However, it could be seen in the current situation of long-term care in the United States, there needs to be more improvement in order to attain the appropriate policies to serve the people.

In a nutshell, although long-term care has been developed appropriately, whether it is on a hospital or in a nursing home, long-term care policies which have been currently implemented, such as CLASS, will prohibit people from receiving the appropriate health care. Even if such program will provide more benefits for individuals compared to the private long-term care insurances, it, nevertheless, excludes other individuals from being properly cared for because it is not encompassing.

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