Attitude Towards Aging, Death, And Dying Essay Example

The notion of immortality has driven cultural and scientific innovation for hundreds of years. Both medicine and religion began to touch upon the topics of death and the possibility of eternal life, whether spiritual or physical. However, people still tend to suffer from aging, even in the contemporary advanced healthcare system. While dying was considered a short physical process before, it involves more long-lasting physiological anxiety now (Balk, 2016). In fact, in the 1900s, about “40% of all deaths were due to infectious diseases,” being usually sudden with an overall life expectancy of 47 (Balk, 2016, p. 477). Dying is no longer a threat in people’s early lives, but, as time passes, it becomes difficult to bear the thought of the inescapable. Modern technology, mobility, and social values affected the attitude towards aging and death, resulting in fear and stress at an older age.

The first aspect that has transformed the perception of mortality is the developed trust in the power of science. Having free access to disease prevention and treatment medicine available nearly to everyone leads communities to believe that technology can “fix any problem” (Balk, 2016, p. 476). Previously, aging and death were commonly perceived as unavoidable processes caused by spiritual and superficial forces. Now, however, science built itself a reputation of being able to prevent major environmental disasters and cure numerous diseases. As a result, achieving the power to control life and increase longevity became the ultimate existential goal (Balk, 2016). Despite the advancements in medicine and healthcare, the fear of death has increased immensely as people continue to strive for survival.

Another issue is the currently promoted lifestyle of mobility and movement. Contemporary globalization and openness allow for easier relocation than ever before. Though it involves numerous benefits that cannot be denied, free transportation scattered many families apart and resulted in common loneliness distress, especially later in life. According to a study conducted by Kastenbaum, most observed want a quick and painless death at home around their families (Balk, 2016). Unfortunately, this is not widely possible and practiced due to the notion of large extended families, members of which, for instance, are spread all around the globe. Moreover, a different study showed that individuals are afraid of dying alone and not of the process itself (Balk, 2016). Experiencing such type of anxiety can result in severe suffering even if one is not physically ill or in pain.

The third aspect is the combination of developments in technology and transportation, which changed some of the social norms and values. Despite the efforts of medicine and science to save lives and prolong them as much as possible, they often dismiss the importance of a patient’s mental health and satisfaction. In the current work culture, many families rely on hospices to take care of the elderly because of time constraints, which has become an acceptable norm. On the other hand, people start to feel useless and not needed by society. For instance, more than 80% of the surveyed stated that some of the most important characteristics of “a good death” are “not being a burden to one’s family, [and] being able to still help others” (Balk, 2016, p. 482). Even though modern hospices provide excellent care for the ill and elderly, a new approach needs to be implemented to improve the patients’ psychological state.

Dying has always been a stressful and fearful topic for people. While previously in history this notion was associated with the unavoidable and a particular illness, now it can be postponed and delayed with the help of modern medicine. However, such improvements in science came at a different cost, which is psychological anxiety. Individuals tend to feel significantly stressed and fear death more than before due to the current state of technology, mobility, and social norms. Even though patients might not be in physical pain, they can still suffer. New caring methods that would focus on people’s mental health can become the solution to the constructed attitude towards aging, death, and dying.

References

Balk, David E. 2016. “The Psychology of Death and Dying in Later Life.” Handbook of the Psychology of Aging, 8th ed., 475–489. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-411469-2.00024-8.

Linking Obamacare Policy, Substance Abuse, And Mental Health

Introduction

Obamacare, or The Affordable Care Act (ACA), is one of the most prominent health care policies in the United States because disputes over its advantages and disadvantages last for years. This policy has made health insurance more accessible and has covered a more significant part of the population that previously could not afford the necessary medical services. People with low income, chronic illnesses, and mental disorders experienced most of the problems since companies did not provide them with insurance. Today, the ACA still has flaws that policy opponents use to justify the need for its elimination and promotion of other insurance policies that do not cover mental health services. Consequently, although Obamacare has positively impacted mental health and substance abuse treatment, its flaws, along with the action of its opponents, threaten to reduce progress and eliminate previous improvements in this field of health care.

The Effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The American health insurance system is based on a network of private companies that cover the costs of their clients. At the same time, the prices of medical services are very high, which puts people who are denied insurance companies in a hopeless position. This situation was common for the United States, as most Americans did not have insurance due to company denials. However, The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed by the Obama administration, made healthcare more affordable by increasing the benefits for low-income populations and expanding the list of services covered by insurance. One of the most noticeable and significant changes was the introduction of the prevention and treatment of mental and behavioral problems, including substance abuse, into this list.

Before the adoption of the ACA, people with mental health problems could not get insurance because companies refused them. This situation has led to severe consequences and a high level of deaths due to suicides or overdose (Abraham et al., 2017). At the same time, many people with mental problems could not get counseling, treatment, and medication to control their condition. However, the ACA has covered both categories of people and problems. First, since 2014, all individual and insurance plans should include services for treating mental health and drug or alcohol addiction. These changes also contribute to the treatment and prevention of substance abuse and cover consultations with a therapist to overcome emotional problems and avoid severe mental issues (Norris, 2018). Second, the ACA has made insurance reduce insurance costs for low-income populations, which are typically more prone to abuse and mental issues. The abolition of the lifetime limit, or the maximum amount of money allocated by insurance to cover medical expenses during life, also is a significant positive change. (Norris, 2018). Consequently, the ACA has affected a considerable part of the population by enabling them to remain healthy.

An Impact of the ACA on Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

The new policy has affected not only people who require health services, but also healthcare staff by expanding their capabilities. Financing for medical personnel is one of the critical factors of the ACA as such reforms increase the quality of service and reduce healthcare costs. For this reason, the main changes affecting the APRN are higher demand for services, increased funding for nursing education, and their initiatives.

The first effect is that the demand for nursing services has grown significantly because the number of people with access to medical services has also increased. Such a change has both positive and negative effects on the work of nurses. The lack of staff forces hospitals to offer their employees more favorable working conditions, which is a positive change for nurses who can receive a higher salary for their job. However, at the same time, many patients for limited staff create conditions that interfere with the quality of a nurse’s work and lead to high physical and moral stress. Although nurses specializing in mental issues of patients are not so demanded as specialists working in first aid, a similar feature also applies to them.

At the same time, one of the ACA aims is to finance the education of nurses, since their knowledge and professionalism reduce the lack of staff and improve the quality of services. For this reason, nurse practitioners and students have more opportunities to raise their level of education and skills by using scholarships and government support (Erickson, 2016). The ACA also provides additional funds for the implementation of nurse practitioners’ initiatives that are aimed at the study and practice of methods for the prevention and treatment of various diseases. For example, the ACA provides school nurses with sources to implement preventive measures against substance abuse and mental problems in students (Cleveland, Motter, & Smith, 2019). Therefore, the ACA has many positive features that affect APRNs and, thus, contribute to the mental and physical health of the population.

Facilitators and Barriers of the ACA

The Obamacare policy has many reasons for its successful implementation. The main ones are the availability of insurance for the population and coverage of a wide range of services, particularly in the treatment of mental health and substance abuse. However, the policy has disadvantages that diminish its popularity, such as the high cost of insurance for the middle-income population, the inaccessibility of certain medications, and the limited network of mental health providers. However, the main obstacle is the actions of the Trump administration, which tries to reduce the influence and cancel current policies.

The principles and results of the ACA demonstrate that it is successful for the health and well-being of people. Benefits for a low-income population reduce insurance spending to a minimum, and youth under 26 can use their parents’ insurance (Abraham et al., 2017). Since adolescence and young age are the most sensitive to the development of mental problems and addictions, this approach significantly improves the health of the population. In addition, the abolition of the lifelong limit contributes to the constant monitoring and treatment of mental diseases, which also attracts people who cannot have state benefits. Consequently, the policy has support among the population and also contributes to the security and health of the country.

The debate against Obamacare is national in scope since the current US president is opposed to the principles of this policy. For example, recently, the administration filed another lawsuit against the ACA in the Supreme Court to refute its constitutionality (Goodnough, Abelson, Sanger-Katz, & Kliff, 2020). At the same time, policy flaws to draw public attention also foster Obamacare opponents. For example, the high cost of insurance due to companies’ poor regulation makes many people buy shorter-term health insurance plans, which are cheaper but do not cover the treatment of mental health. People can also be encouraged by the fact that some essential medicines and diagnoses are not covered by insurance, such as anorexia (Norris, 2018). In addition, the lack of psychiatrists and therapists, especially in rural areas, can also encourage people to choose a cheaper package option, since they cannot access the services anyway. Maintaining this trend will lead to a situation in which people will return to the previous insufficient level of care for their mental health due to the inability to pay and receive services.

Solution

Elimination of the most significant flaws of Obamacare policy help to keep and regain its reputation among the population, and some measures for this purpose are already at the stage of implementation. The ACA finances the education of nurses and medical staff; consequently, the solution to the lack of psychiatric services providers is to shift the focus on educating this kind of specialty. Policymakers also acknowledge the high-cost problem and see it as their mistake, so they are determined to review some basic principles of the ACA to rectify the situation (Goodnough et al., 2020). It is also necessary to review and expand the list of mental issues and means for their treatment that should be covered by insurance. All these changes contribute to the fact that people will be able to afford packages that include the treatment of mental health and addictions, and will also see the point in acquiring it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Affordable Care Act is a policy that positively affects the mental health of Americans; however, its shortcomings and the actions of its opponents diminish its significance among the population. Overcoming and correcting these flaws focuses on their advantages and makes people think about the importance of their mental health. In addition, supporting and maintaining this policy will improve the nursing practice and the quality of health care in general.

References

Abraham, A. J., Andrews, C. M., Grogan, C. M., D’Aunno, T., Humphreys, K. N., Pollack, H. A., & Friedmann, P. D. (2017). The Affordable Care Act transformation of substance use disorder treatment. American Journal of Public Health, 107(1), 31–32.

Cleveland, K.A., Motter, T., & Smith, Y., (2019). Affordable care: Harnessing the power of nurses. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 24(2).

Erickson, F. (2016). The role of nurse practitioners in health care reform. Georgetown University, School of Nursing & Health Study.

Goodnough, A., Abelson, R., Sanger-Katz, M., & Kliff, S. (2020). Obamacare turns 10. Here’s a look at what works and doesn’t.

Norris, L. (2018). How Obamacare improved mental health coverage. Healthinsurance.org. Web.

Pros And Cons Of Online Learning

Introduction

Institutionalized education has been affected significantly by the current Covid-19 pandemic because schools have been closed as one of the countermeasures to address this global problem. As such, online learning has become the preferred mode of delivering instruction to students. With the rapid rate of technological growth in the last 20 years, people are now enjoying one of the most significant technological booms in human history. In the field of education, online learning is becoming more dominant and heavily debated as it expands out of the traditional classroom towards anyone with access to the Internet. As an educator, I have a particular interest in this topic because it affects the way I deliver content and interact with my students. This paper identifies the advantages and disadvantages of online learning and how technology is vital to help me make informed decisions in the future.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning

In their study, Kaplan and Haenlein argue that parents are sharply divided on the introduction of online classes (445). A good number of parents are in support, while others say that machines cannot replace the human element. George, a professional in the banking sector and a parent of a preschooler says that online classes are a new concept, and his son was excited initially to be part of it (Kaplan and Haenlein 447). Zoom is one of the popular online platforms being used to teach learners, and it has been highly helpful in facilitating distance learning. However, it has a major drawback, as it does not provide a way for students to submit their work for assessment. As such, the only option for learners is to photograph their work and email it, and this process could be complicated for some students, especially those in elementary classes. Therefore, parents have to be involved to help their children, which could be a barrier to online learning, specifically in cases where such adults are not available.

I agree with these two parents in the sense that they are highlighting real issues. For instance, George is expressing the excitement his son has courtesy of virtual learning. He believes that this being a generation of electronic gadgets, his son will benefit a lot. However, he pushes for modification of this online platform. On the other hand, Ruth is very definite. She calls online classes total rubbish because, according to her, her child is not benefiting a lot from technology. The teachers often send unclear photos of notes through a WhatsApp group, and parents are expected to write them down for their children to read. This article leaves me with one question – in today’s time, many families have both parents working, and thus they might find it challenging to do the tasks given by the school as a parent – is it not prudent for the school to devise an initiative to connect with the child directly?

In another article, Dias et al. argue that media platforms used in online learning avail minimal interactive environment for students (417). Learning institutions use tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams, among other related platforms. However, some learners still struggle to get online. Ms. Diana, a chemistry teacher from a city school, feels that virtual classes are not easy to handle because a lot goes into making them productive and interactive (Dias et al. 417). During online courses, teachers try to create an interactive environment by randomly asking questions to students, which is lacking in online learning.

I partly disagree with this article’s argument that teaching via online platforms is a struggle. I believe it is not difficult, but it is different in the sense that the physical presence of students in the class is missing. For example, from my experience, Zoom offers an interactive platform that allows users to plan and manage lessons effectively. In addition, it creates learning experiences almost similar to the traditional classroom set-up, including the ability for students to raise their hands, pose questions, and participate in discussions. I believe that this new experience excites students, thus facilitating learning in the process. One question that arises for me from this article– is it not ideal to appreciate the fact that there are minimal distractions by the learner’s classmates, which is common in a regular classroom?

In another article, Dumford and Miller argue that the significant relationships for engagement and amount of online course exposure reveal that the online environment might encourage certain types of engagement, such as more use of quantitative reasoning activities (454). Traditional face-to-face settings seem more likely to promote collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, effective teaching practices, quality of communications, and discussions with others. According to the authors of this article, with online learning gaining popularity in modern times, it is important to investigate the advantages associated with it for continued improvement to meet learning objectives. The article notes that proper research should be done on the involvement of students who access their learning content through an online medium at varying levels, exploring patterns of engagement for online learners and those in face-to-face settings through the percentage of classes in which a student is enrolled online.

I agree that it is worth noting that the education system still expects children to write exams in most countries. However, with online learning, it becomes hard for teachers to monitor how such exams take place. Additionally, while learners might have good typing skills, maintaining good handwriting in a normal class set-up might be a major problem. Moreover, many students have not been able to take advantage of virtual platforms because they do not have suitable devices at home, or they lack a good Internet connection. However, despite the many highlighted drawbacks, online learning serves the purpose of engaging with students, especially during this time whereby schools have been closed following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. This article raises an important question – what will happen to learners who come from poor and marginalized communities where access to the Internet is a challenge?

Conclusion

As the technology used in online education continues to evolve rapidly, research must address the impact of online learning on virtual platforms. More research is also needed on whether there are disciplinary modifications that can be made on the online platforms to make the online curriculum more interactive. If the primary goal of online learning is to reach a broader range of students and provide educational opportunities for those who might not otherwise have such access, then it is essential to ensure that online education students are partaking in equally engaging educational experiences that contribute to their learning and success.

Works Cited

Dias, Patrícia, et al. “The Role of Parents in the Engagement of Young Children with Digital Technologies: Exploring Tensions between Rights of Access and Protection, from ‘Gatekeepers’ to ‘Scaffolders’.” Global Studies of Childhood, vol. 6, no. 4, 2016, pp. 414-427.

Dumford, Amber, and Angie Miller. “Online Learning in Higher Education: Exploring Advantages and Disadvantages for Engagement.” Journal of Computing in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 3, 2018, pp. 452-465.

Kaplan, Andreas, and Michael Haenlein. “Higher Education and the Digital Revolution: About MOOCs, SPOCs, Social media, and the Cookie Monster.” Business Horizons, vol. 59, no. 4, 2016, pp. 441-450.

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