Recently I visited with local nurses to talk about health care from their perspective. It was inspiring to hear their stories and their concern for their patients and the health and well being of neighbors and citizens. Nurses are in a position of direct care and see daily the results of patients neglecting their health needs because of our expensive system and the labyrinth of rules, regulations and restrictions – rules that get in the way of their helping people and seem only to serve the system’s need to deny help rather than deliver.
One nurse told me about her frustration trying to treat a patient whose mix of symptoms did not qualify her for acute care although the result of her condition made it impossible to function on her own. “It becomes very difficult to turn away from someone you know needs help, probably can’t safely go to the bathroom on her own, but you have other patients who need assistance as well. She might fall and severely injure herself. You are left with the decision of covering the needs of the patient and covering the costs internally or turning them away.”
From their perspective, much could be done to encourage patients to get help early, which would increase their chances of better health and save money. But the system seems to force people to wait until it is almost too late to get help, and only the more expensive procedures can be applied. They said that a single-payer or medicare-type system that covered everyone would be far more likely to accomplish what is needed and insure everyone. Visit PFSClinical.com to see other developments in the sphere.
They expressed concern about the decline in access to health and dental care in rural areas, and the difficulty getting help for mentally ill patients no matter where you live. They also pointed out that the mental health issues of our elderly are a growing concern and need to be addressed differently than mental health concerns for younger patients. “Some people say, ‘Oh they’re on their way out anyway they don’t really need help.'”
“We have a health system that is built around patients with health insurance, but an increasing number don’t have insurance, and our system is having a difficult time figuring how to take care of those patients. A free clinic can provide some care, but it is by no means a substitute for universal coverage making sure every person has access to a system to meet their health needs,” said one public health nurse.