Elderly Women Less Likely To Receive Care
I have been following this story for the last couple of days because of my own experiences with the health care system. It seems that my feelings way back in May were correct, when I thought that the care my mother received in hospital was substandard. Now I also have to worry about what kind of care I will receive with my hearth issues, I'm over 50.
A study by Sunnybrook Health and Sciences Centre in Toronto and shows the same thing, I was right.
This difference was most pronounced among women over age 50, who were 32% less likely than men to be admitted to intensive care units. They were also 9% less likely than men to receive mechanical ventilation to assist breathing and 20% less likely to receive pulmonary artery catheters to monitor failing hearts. They were also more likely to die.
Anyone how read my posts back in April and May will know of my almost daily battle with doctors and hospital administrators. I was threatened with eviction on a few ocasions for being "too intense". This study will not bring my mother back but it is a warning to all of us women over the age of fifty with possible health problems. What does it say about our society when elderly women are not valued any more?
Dr. Bierman and Dr. Baxter say the findings are just the latest evidence of gender-related differences in Canada's health care. Other studies have found women are not as likely as men to be admitted to hospital after arriving at emergency departments with heart problems, are less likely than men to receive implantable cardiac defibrillators, and are at increased risk of receiving potentially inappropriate medications.
When I questioned medications I was made to feel stupid, when I wondered why it would take four weeks to get a pacemaker even though her heart kept stopping, I was ignored and when I asked to have her diapers changed more frequently I was told of "staff shortages" and I was expecting too much. In the end, something as preventable as a Urinary Tract Infection could have been too much for her system and put her into a coma.
I was told to "let her go" and she's a "frail elderly woman". They catch you off guard, they play on your emotions not to let your "loved one suffer" when really there might have been a chance. Mechanical ventilation was discouraged. Would it have helped, I don't know, but I do know that I feel guilty for having been caught off guard and not insisting. And here's the kicker, I should not have been put in that position in the first place. It was incumbent on the hospital to offer the best care, I mean after all this is Canada and we pride ourselves on our excellent "health care system".
I'm not sure that writing about it has any effect, but I do know that I will continue to advocate for better health care and I suggest anyone who has an interest in ensuring we all receive proper care when our time comes, do the same.
The researchers looked at the gender, age and admission to ICU, use of mechanical ventilation, kidney dialysis or pulmonary artery catheter, length of stay in ICU and hospital, and death in ICU, in hospital and one year after discharge.
Far fewer women were admitted to ICU -- 39.9% women, and 60.1% men. This difference was most pronounced among women over the age of 50, who were 32% less likely than men to be admitted to ICU.
Among men and women with comparable medical conditions, the older women were nine per cent less likely than men to receive mechanical ventilation to aid breathing and 20% less likely to receive pulmonary artery catheterization, which entails threading a catheter through the chambers of the heart.
My mother was not admitted to an ICU unit at all, she was kept in a Geriatric Unit! This is an issue that can not be allowed to go away, we owe it to ourselves, our elderly mothers and the future of our daughters to ensure women are treated better in our hospitals. Read the whole article, it's an eye opener...