Patient Abuse And Neglect: A Global Health Challenge
Despite all managerial efforts directed towards effective coordination of the health care sector, service delivery in health care is still very poor in many countries. Notably, most issues have been centered on patient neglect and abuse by service providers and this has been confirmed by the World Health Organization as a global health problem (WHO 2006). In a relationship with the expectation of trust, ‘Abuse’ is referred to as an act done once or repeatedly to another person in the relationship.
‘Abuse and Neglect’ can be viewed with different lenses, it could be; physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse. Patient abuse and neglect can be primarily caused by factors that directly affect the care environment and health professionals such as; workloads, poorly described procedures, lack of training and practices of healthcare staff such as norms on rule violation and relationships with patients.
Similarly, the secondary causal factors include; inadequate resources, and social discrimination in terms of culture, gender, economic status, and age. Among patients of all ages, abuse and neglect could result in physical trauma, reduced self-worth, and dignity, a feeling of insecurity, and increased hospital stay and mortality.
Specifically, elderly people are at high risk of abuse and neglect as the WHO report has it that 1 out of 6 people of 60 years and above have experienced one form of abuse. It’s quite unfortunate that abuse and neglect among older people may continue to increase since there’s a continuous increase in aging population.
To that effect, there’s an urgent need for ameliorative measures to tackle this global issue. Interestingly, efforts that are capable of mitigating the impacts made by this global issue can be directed at developing and implementing training programs for health care staff, persistent assessment, and policies. One other reliable approach is the therapeutic relationship which involves caring attitudes and behaviors based on trust, respect, empathy, professional intimacy, and effective communication.
Consequently, a novel approach that involves community psychology to tackle the universal issue of abuse and neglect among patients can also be adopted.
All these measures will collaboratively reduce the prevalence of this issue among service users of all ages.