Ageism In Healthcare - Ageism- Assessment Answers

November 02, 2018
Author : Ashley Simons

Solution Code: 1EAI

Question:Ageism In Healthcare

This assignment is related to ”Ageism In Healthcare” and experts atMy Assignment Services AUsuccessfully delivered HD quality work within the given deadline.

Task description

Explore the scholarly literature, published between 2010- 2016 inclusive, to critically analyse the impact of ageism in healthcare. Your critical analysis must include the impact of a registered nurse’s ageist behaviour on the older patient, the nursing care of the older patient and the impact on colleagues in the health care team.

In this task you are required to do the following:

  • Define ageism and contextualise it to the health care of an older person.
  • Discuss theories and principles that are relevant to ageism, nursing care and the health care environment.
  • Critically analyse the impact of a registered nurse’s ageist behaviour on
  • an older patient in their care
  • the safety and quality of the nursing care of an older patient in their care
  • colleagues from the health care team
  • Identify and explain two strategies that are effective in addressing ageism in health care.
  • Support your critical analysis with a minimum of 15 scholarly articles.

Ageism In Healthcare Assignment


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IntroductionAgeism is generally defined as the discriminated treatment against elderly people based on prejudices and stereotypes. Most of the elderly people are fit and active, but they are prejudices and treated with disrespect and are not openly welcomed. Such kind of discrimination is done based on the function that they have attained the age, which is normally defined as ‘old’ (Kydd, & Fleming, 2015). The attitudes and beliefs of people often reflect ageism, but such biases are highly evident in the policies, behavior and languages of people. Ageism is a very important problem that requires attention, as it affects the moral condition and mental state of a person.

It has been seen the positive self perception of the aged people provides lengthening of their lifespan. The outcomes of the patients in healthcare are also significantly affected by ageism (Johnstone, 2013). It could be understood with an example: the healthcare providers’ biases towards providing services to elderly people, resulting in exclusion of old people from clinical trials, unwillingness to offer active treatment. Such condition is offer seen with the old patients suffering from cancer.

Ageism is the most widespread form of prejudice, which gives direct and indirect harmful effects on elderly population. However it is possible to offset ageism and the quality of healthcare delivery can be improved (Meller, Chew, & Greenhill, 2007). Nurses are in the better position to reduce such discrimination because it is an educational issue. The awareness in families, patients and care providers is very important to reduce ageism towards old people and thus it will provide positive impact on gerontological health care (Kolpina, & Shlychkova, 2013). This assignment aims towards understanding the affects of ageism on healthcare delivery, with the analyses of the impact of ageism on nursing care of elderly people.

Aging and Theories

Aging is the process through which people grow older. This process can be understood in a better way through three different perspectives. These perspectives define different theories related to ageism. Different socialists have identified the following three main perspectives: Structural-Functional, symbolic interaction and social conflict (Topaz, Troutman-Jordan, & MacKenzie, 2014).


This kind of perspective states that people had complex view towards the society. According to it social structures require social needs. There are three different theories associated with structural-functional perspective:

  1. The Disengagement Theory: The credit of developing this theory goes to Henry and Cummings. They developed this theory in 1950’s. This theory states that, when people start growing old and realize that death is near; they start disengaging themselves from their social roles and responsibilities. Ageing is a biological process, under this process the body does not work like earlier and people need the support of others. The social interaction with other is reduced. This behavior is acceptable and natural for the elderly people. The people start disengaging themselves as they have seen people of their age dying, and they start anticipating their own death (Schiller Schigelone, 2003). The theory also states that man and woman have different kind of societal engagements, thus they disengage in different manners. Men lose their knowledge and skills that they acquired during their working.
  2. Activity Theory: This theory was developed by Robert J Havighurst. According to this theory, if old people keep themselves active in different activities, which can keep them physically and mentally active, then they can live happy life in their old age. Havighurst also claims that that instead of disengagement from the society, people should keep themselves active and social. The engagement in different activities allow people to have social interaction, increases self worth and well-being. Thus, it is important of life longevity.
  3. The Continuity Theory: This is an important psychosocial theory. This helps to understand the process through which people develop during their old age. The continuity theory is in odd with the disengagement theory, while it could be considered as the elaboration and modification of activity theory. This theory further states that ageing people maintain their personality traits, beliefs, relationships and social role. This theory faced criticism as it does not consider the fact that old age people may suffer from chronic diseases such as Alzheimer or cancer. In such case old people could not maintain their internal and external structures.

Symbolic Interaction: According to this perspective age is determined by social interactions and symbols. While it is understood that aging is a biological process but believing oneself as old or young is example of social construction. The cultures in society attach certain behaviors to the age. For example an old person going for rock climbing could seen as inappropriate, but if a young man is doing the same then it is appropriate. Aging is also viewed differently in different culture. In eastern culture it connected with wisdom, while in Western culture it reflect negative situation.

Social-Conflict: Most of the theories of ageing propose emphasize on involvement of aged people in social interaction and activities. But, this perspective criticizes this approach of all other perspectives. This is because all the other theories and perspective do not considered social structure, class and social stratification patterns of aging. This theory states that disengagement theory and activity theory could not explain that, why in old age the level and type of social interaction changes in aged people.

The impact of Registered Nurse’s Ageist Behavior on Old Patients

The ageing of the Australian population is occurring more rapidly. The aged population is expected to increase to 22% by the year 2051. With the increasing number of old patients, who are using the acute settings, the attitude of the registered nurses are affected. In the long term care setting it has been seen that registered nurses hold slightly positive to neutral attitude towards old patients. Such attitudes are very less positive in comparison to those nurses, who work in rehabilitation or teaching services (Fahey, et al, 2003).

Though in the long term setting, it has been seen that nurses have little positive attitude towards old patients. The negative attitude of the nurses is due to the structure of nursing with care of old people, lack of efficient staff and high dependency of the old patients on nurses (Biggs, & Haapala, 2013). There has been little research on the care that old patients receive in the acute care setting. The acute care setting is considered to be a very dangerous place for the patients; as such patients are susceptible to infections and post operative complications (Stone, et al, 2007).

The research states that the registered nurses, who hold negative attitude towards the old patients, stereotyped the old patients with ageism rather than considering them as individuals. The nurses who placed importance on talking to the patients had more positive attitude towards them, while the nurses, who considered that nursing care (like cleaning, bathing etc.) is more important, such nurses have negative attitude towards old patients (Kagan, & Melendez?Torres, 2015).

It has also been seen that nurses, who have higher degree of education and knowledge possessed more positive attitude. The independence of the old patients in care is highly threatened by the negative attitude of the registered nurses, which includes ageism and stereotyping.

Patient Safety and Quality of Care for Old Patients

Nurses are always in the key position to provide safety and quality care to the old patients. The quality of the health care can be improved with proper safety strategies and interventions. The profession of nursing is associated with measuring and defining quality care. “Nursing is a critical factor in determining the quality of care in hospitals and the nature of patient’s outcomes”(Wunderlich, Sloan, & Davis, 1996). The quality of the care can only be improved by patient safety. The most important contribution of the registered nurses towards patient safety, in any kind of setting, is the capability to integrate and coordinate many features of quality care.

The old patients being stereotyped or treated with ageist behavior, hinders the path of quality care. The attitude of the registered nurses towards old patients is highly responsible in providing appropriate patient safety and quality. The quality of the care could be improved with finding more registered nurses in comparison to other nursing staff (Tourangeau, Cranley, & Jeffs, 2006). Due to the lack of nursing staff in the healthcare of old patients, is also the biggest reason of low quality care. The patient safety and quality of care can be improved by treating patients and their family members with respect and dignity (Erickson, et al, 2003).

The nurses should try more to understand the patient’s needs, preferences and abilities. The patient’s carer should be encouraged and involved in the patient’s care (Harteloh, 2003). The discrimination done on the basis of age are not ethically correct, The Anti-Discrimination Act of 1991, states that the age of a person is the chronological age and discrimination on the basis of age cover all ages. The aim of Anti-Discrimination Act is to counteract the negative aspects of discrimination.

Impact of a registered nurses ageist behavior on colleagues from the health care team

Old age is not a curse by it is a biological process, and making discrimination on the basis of age is unethical. The old people in healthcare services require more attention and quality care to achieve social, psychological and physical needs of the patient (Liu, Norman, & While, (2013). Every organization has anti discriminatory policies, according to which nurses and other healthcare providers could not do discrimination on the basis of age of the patient. The ageist behaviors of the registered nurses towards old patient also encourage other staff members to do same behavior with other patients. The patient’s care is taken for granted and often ignored to provide quality care (Alabaster, 2007).

The ageist behavior of the registered nurses, influence the attitude, and belief of the colleagues and healthcare team. Their interaction with old patients is also affected. The negative attitude of the nurse reduces the chances of quality care by the other healthcare team members. The old patients require respect and dignity. This approach can also bring positive outcomes in their health and treatment. Often the registered nurses have negative attitude towards old patients that caring for them is unrewarding, unchallenging, heavy, depressing, and monotonous and requires only little involvement of nursing care (Alabaster, 2007). This kind of attitude towards old patients also affects the attitude of the colleagues and healthcare team and they also find that working on such job is below their level of training and knowledge. The change in attitudes can provide more benefits to deliver quality care.

Two Strategies for Addressing Ageism

  1. Abuse Registry: Ageism is the curse for the old people, which restrict their way to quality care. Though there is no clear definition of the abuse registry, in general this refers to the perpetrators of authenticate incidents under which the old patient are abused. This kind of strategy will help the elderly patient to register the information about the nurse or the healthcare providers, who have discriminated them on the basis of age, or have abused them in mental, social or emotional way (Marshall, 2010). The registration of such incidents is like a line of defense, as the people who are found guilty in abusing old patients; this registered information will be flagged while their back ground check.
  2. Public Awareness: Bring public awareness can be very beneficial in stopping the ageist behavior and discrimination incidents. This social problem also requires changes in policies, services, regulations and technology. There should be increased knowledge and awareness towards the problem. The positive communication can also influence people’s beliefs, attitudes, and social norms. The registered nurses should be informed about their duties and there must be a check on their behavior with patients. Public awareness will influence people to change their attitude and beliefs towards old patients. This will, on the hand improve the well-being of the old patients. The old people should also be considered as individuals and not just old patients. The registered nurses should involve in more positive communication with elderly patients; this will relieve the nurse’s stress and will also give positive impact on patient’s health.

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