Inequalitiesin Access to Healthcare Services for the Developmental DisabledPeople
Inequalities in Access to Healthcare Services for theDevelopmental Disabled People
People withdevelopmental disabilities are susceptible to many healthcomplications. Most of this people die at an early age compared tothe normal population. They regularly experience discrimination inaccessing healthcare services. As a result, they are prone to dyingfrom preventable infections. Some of the developmental disabilitiesinclude mental disabilities, where individuals have low intellectualcapacity compared to the ordinary people. The paper will discuss theissues of inequalities in accessing healthcare services for peoplewith developmental disabilities and improving the access.
Some qualitative studies have been carried on people withdevelopmental disabilities and their cares in accessing healthservices. They presented some of the challenges and barriers theyface when trying to access the services. In regard, the reportindicated that communication problems and failure of medicalpractitioners conducting their medical reviews are some of themedical discriminations. Similarly, there is inefficient healthscreening and promotion, and inadequate knowledge of doctors in thephysical health problems are other challenges (Kuenburg, &Fellinger, 2016). In addition, the study indicated that their carersare denied necessary information and are burdened with unrealisticresponsibilities of taking care of their disabled patients.
Several other studies carried about similar research concluded thatpatients with developmental disabilities get suboptimal healthcareservices. Notably, health practitioners have been showing negativeviews about people with disabilities. However, this is against theDisability Discrimination Acts that condemn discrimination ofdisabled people due to their physical disabilities (Krahn, Walker &Correa, 2015). In addition, it is against the human moral ethics thatsupport equality in treatment and access to health services.
Communicationand Health Literacy
People with developmental disabilities have poor or lack body healthawareness and have no response to pain. Their poor communicationskills limit their conveyance of medical needs. In health facilities,the particular need of this people is overlooked, and they end upbeen poorly treated. In addition, the individuals face the challengeof choosing nutritious food materials. Health professionals shouldtake an obligation of advising the carers on the food materials thedisabled people should be given. Most physicians overlook this role,and the disabled people end up been weak and malnutriated. The poorhandling exacerbates their mortality rate.
It has been noted that people with developmental disabilities, rarelyget involved in physical activities. Health facilities providephysiotherapy services that aid in exercising patients with physicalinabilities. However, the study has indicated that people withdisabilities are poorly involved in physiotherapy services. As aresult, they suffer from long recovery periods, and others succumb todeath.
There have been inequalities in people with developmentaldisabilities accessing sexual health services. They do not accessprograms informing youths about sex and sexuality. However, reportsindicate that the disabled people equally suffer from sexuallytransmitted infections as normal population. They are exposed tounsafe sexual practices, which threaten their health life (Iacono,Unsworth, Douglas, & Fitzpatrick, 2014).
Most of the health facilities provide marked footpaths and privatecar parks for people with disabilities. However, few individuals withdevelopment disabilities are financially unstable to purchasefacilitating tools like wheelchairs. Hence, they cannot access healthfacilities due to transport barriers. Few health professionals arewilling to provide medical check-ups at their doorsteps.
HealthScreening and Promotion
Studies have recorded little inclusion of health screening andpromotion services among individuals with developmental disabilities.The testing services include dental check-ups, breast examinationsand access to vision or health impairment check-ups.
It is expected that people with developmental disabilities shouldaccess regular primary care services than the general population.However, reports show that individuals with intellectual and otherdisabilities get little primary care than it is expected. Primaryhealth care teams provide poor health checks to the disabled people(MacArthur, Brown and McKechanie, 2015).
Burdeningcaregivers with responsibilities
The person taking care of the disabled, face the challenge of beenoverburdened. They are assigned tasks that sometimes they are not inposition to offer. Most of these tasks include handling the disabledpatient and reporting any health abnormalities. Some patients cannotcommunicate, and they suffer from the stigma of tolerating pain. Somehealth conditions cannot be detected physically unless the healthprofessionals intervene and test the presence of any healthabnormalities. In addition, the caregivers face the challenge ofbeing denied access to the critical health report. Some healthreports like nutritional requirements guide them in caring thedisabled patients, and they should be presented to their caregivers.
ImprovingAccess to Healthcare
The study has found that people with developmental disabilities andtheir carers continue to experience barriers to accessing healthcareservices in spite of programs improving the access. Several areasneed to be observed to better the offering of services.
Health care facilities should provide proper information about theavailability of local health services. They should also providetranslators to interpreter official languages to local languages thatcan be understood by both the disabled patient and the physician.Health staff should not discriminate by cultural backgrounds or race(Walker, Beck, & Weston, 2014). The discrimination alienatesfamilies of the disabled patient, and they become reluctant inseeking health assistance.
Improve theHealth Checks
Healthcare professionals should increase awareness of the advantagesof having medical checks among people with developmentaldisabilities. The knowledge will increase the uptake of health checksamong the disabled patients.
The health facilities should improve their services by providingeasier to read clinical letters and other medical information.Similarly, they should adopt the use of health passport that willfacilitate treatment changes or health needs. They should also makebooking systems user-friendly, while people with developmentaldisabilities should be offered priority.
More Training forDoctors and Health Personnel
Adequate training will reduce health services malpractice such assuboptimal treatments, reduced diagnostic and poor attitudes towardspeople with developmental disability. The practitioners should beregularly reminded of their responsibilities to treat without bias oneconomic or disabilities grounds. Instead, they should show sympathyand humanity when treating individuals with physical disabilities.Some countries have adopted this incentive. In the United Kingdom,they have developed an online module that targets to educate doctorson required communication skills when treating people withdevelopmental disabilities (People, 2013). The module can be sharedamong other health workers to bring a positive revolution on the typeof services they offer.
Carers are stigmatized during mistreatments of their disabledpatients. They are affected indirectly when their disabled patientsare poorly handled in hospitals. Poorly treated disabled patientsprovide burdens to their carers. In addition, the carers face thechallenge of lack of financial and emotional support. While they havereduced access to social services and most of the time, they arealienated. Support for the caregivers will motivate them to providebetter services to developmentally disabled patients.
Implement FederalDisabilities Rights
The federal governments should enforce disability rights and vetothem. The rights should relate to health care services and programsthat will improve disease control, promote health and create culturalcompetence.
There should be regular data collection on interviews from peoplewith developmental disabilities to understand health challenges theyundergo. The data can be used to take actions to health staffs whomishandle the disabled people (Tomlinson, Yasamy and Emerson, 2014).
In summary, we have found that people with mental and developmentdisabilities are discriminated or poorly treated due to theirphysical inability. The mistreatments result from health staff havingnegative attitudes towards the disabled people. Hence, they fail totreat the patients with respect and professionalism. Otherinequalities resulted from the physicians lacking relevantinformation concerning the patient needs. While in other cases, somehealth facilities are unable to accommodate patients withdevelopmental disabilities. Poor communication technics are othercauses of inequalities when offering health services.
However, we have observed that these barriers can be avoided throughoffering required support to both the disabled patient and theircarers. In addition, the government should enact disabilities lawsthat will protect the people from being discriminated against theirphysical inability. Finally, use of translators and clearcommunication methods will help to overcome the communicationbarrier, which limits offering of efficient services.
In conclusion, concerning health inequalities problem for people withmental and developmental disabilities, it is clear that healthcareservices are insufficient. It is also clear that the inequalities areavoidable. Organizations like the United Nations Conventions on therights for people with disabilities should be firm in condemning theinequality in the offering of health care services. In addition, aproper understanding of the primary causes of this differences isessential so that to seek for a solution.
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