Health for a disabled person is an important issue that should be given the attention, care and the platform for extended education it deserves. Medical advances in treatment are being made every day. However, patients who have disabilities still often face barriers in obtaining satisfactory healthcare. An obstacle many disabled people face is the limited knowledge and understanding among medical professionals about disabilities and the specific needs of these patients. Additionally, the cost of insurance for disabled individuals can be exorbitant, halting their access to consistent, high-quality care. It is imperative to explore potential solutions to empower disabled patients while providing greater knowledge and resources to medical professionals.
Lack of Knowledge Among Medical Professionals:
Many medical professionals are not adequately trained or equipped to provide specific care for disabled patients. I have been told of the many horror stories with regard to disabled patients. The only time I have had a bad experience with a doctor visit was last year. I was in the eye doctor about to be examined. The office itself was small so the receptionist moved my wheelchair outside the door. Most disabled people would have a problem with this. Almost immediately I felt anxious because I knew if I had to use the restroom and my chair wasn’t right next to me there might be a problem. The doctor came in and said to me “I see you’re in a wheelchair. How did you get here? My car is in the parking lot. “Oh, you can drive like normal people,” he replied. I was shocked and silent throughout the rest of the appointment.
Some common challenges disabled people face when going to a medical appointment are:
1. Limited exposure during medical school and training: Many medical schools do not have the mandatory coursework or clinical rotations concerning patients with disabilities.
2. Insufficient specialization: Many doctors do not specialize in areas such as rehabilitation medicine or physical therapy. Knowledge of specific disabilities and proper maintenance might not be an integral part of their primary training. Therefore, these patients not be given the specified care they require.
3. Stereotyping and misinterpretation: A medical professional lacking the knowledge of a specific patient and his or her disability can negatively affect the treatment they are given as well as future care. Doctors should not only be taught how to care for these patients, They should also be given the proper terminology when interacting with them,
The Cost of Insurance to the Disabled Patient:
Medical insurance is vital for receiving proper healthcare, but disabled individuals may face barriers when navigating the difficult world of health insurance. Some of the contributing factors include:
1. Pre-existing condition clauses: Disabled patients might have a hard time navigating the healthcare they receive if their family doctor deems their disability a pre-existing condition.
2. High premiums: The cost of adequate insurance coverage can be astronomical for disabled patients. As a result of these high expenses the weight of these expenditures can be placed on the patient, their families or government funded programs.
3. Limited coverage: Many insurance policies do not fully cover the cost of necessary services, such as home healthcare, specialized rehab therapies, mental health services, or medical equipment. This can lead to patients not receiving the care they need,
Improving the healthcare experience for disabled patients and expanding medical professionals’ understanding of care specific to disabled individuals requires tackling these issues from multiple angles:
1. Enhancing medical education: Medical schools and training programs should make education of disabilities a priority by incorporating disability-specific courses and clinical rotations. Having future doctors equipped with the knowledge and experience they need to provide quality care for disabled patients will only serve everyone involved as time goes on. According to the council for disability awareness www.disabilitycanhappen.org 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year due a disabling injury before they reach retirement age.
2. Fostering collaboration: Encouraging medical professionals to collaborate with disability specialists, physical therapists, rehabilitation medicine experts can improve their understanding of disabled patients’ unique needs.
3. Disability awareness campaigns: Public campaigns from health organizations, nonprofits, and medical societies can let people know about disability issues and advertise a better understanding between medical professionals, patients, and the public as a whole.
4. Advocating for insurance reform: Influencing the powers that be for insurance policy adjustments that remove pre-existing condition clauses, reduce premium costs, and ensure comprehensive coverage for disabled patients must become a reality. This effort will require collaboration among stakeholders, including policymakers, healthcare providers, and patient advocacy groups.
5. Improving healthcare for disabled patients requires a sophisticated approach that addresses the crevices in knowledge among medical professionals and mitigates the financial burden on disabled individuals seeking care. By enhancing disability education, fostering collaboration, and advocating for policy reform, there is potential to create a more inclusive healthcare system that meets the unique needs of disabled patients.