Ethical Leadership in Healthcare

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Ethical Leadership in Healthcare


Healthcare is a sphere in the modern society, in which a responsive and dynamic system is in its place; therefore, only people, who can cope with the frequent organizational changes, achieve good results in it. The way to improve the process of making ethical decisions that would not harm any parties and remain beneficial to the medical facilities, as well as the healthcare industry workers involved, has always been a challenge to the management. Unfortunately, among the major issues that the healthcare industry professionals face today, there are social justice and health disparities, which are related to the disease diagnostics, screening, and availability of the healthcare services to those elderly minorities within the society of the United States. Moreover, the health disparities are significantly different in the treatment of those individuals, who are of another ethnic origin, and have not been justified due to the treatment requirements. Unfortunately, such disparities are present all across the country. The proof of this claim is the statistical figures, which indicate that in infants, the mortality rates are higher among the African American people in comparison to the white, as well as the poorer care and treatment of the HIV patients among those, who belong to the other ethnical groups. The issue is more sensitive towards the elderly people; the data show that the African Americans or elderly people of Hispanic origin suffer from a bigger number of chronic diseases in comparison to the same-age white individuals. The objective of the following paper is to discuss the concept of social justice and health disparities as the major ethical challenges that the healthcare professionals face today. Moreover, certain recommendations for improvement are mentioned.

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Fair Treatment to Everybody

Some variations depend on the cultural beliefs, organizational perceptions, religions, and states. Some societies might consider a thing unethical while the others find it to be a sign of a proper behavior. Among the most vivid examples, there is the issue of abortion that, according to the law of the USA, is legal while, under the influence of Christianity, many people claim it to be an unethical practice. Another example is euthanasia. In some countries, it is legal; however, most individuals believe it to be unethical. The opponents of the practice speak about the moral principles. On the other hand, those who support euthanasia believe that prolongation of the death process, which is combined with sufferings and pain, is inhumane. It means that the healthcare leaders face many challenges that are associated with the social and cultural background in terms of the proper communication, following the patient’s will, treatment prolongation without the approval from patient but by the initiative if the family and others.

The issues of justice, equity, and fairness are the core concept of social justice, which means that no person should be privileged to get the better services, and everyone has a right to equal treatment irrespective of his or her position in the society and power that he or she upholds. Unfortunately, stereotyping and stigmatization of people due to their cultural and ethnical belonging is common in every society, and the healthcare industry is just the same. Nevertheless, the objective of the society is still to ensure that the social justice philosophy is in place while the healthcare industry leaders should do their best in order to follow that attitude. The healthcare professionals must strive for the mitigation of the adverse effects of the economic and social conditions. Otherwise, not following the factors of social justice might result in the death rates increase and other negative effects.

Alzheimer’s Disease Case Study

The issues that the healthcare industry professionals face today can be clearly demonstrated with the help of the case study about the aging populations that need treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The approximate prognosis states that by 2030, around 20 percents of the U.S. population will have been more than 65 years old, and the ethical and cultural diversity proportions are to increase. Alzheimer’s disease is in a shortlist of the most common diseases in the aging population while the major challenge is about what improvements can be done in order to improve the policies, diagnosis, accessibility, and screening methods for these people.

The disease is very dangerous as it affects the behavior, as well as ability to socialize, work, and take care of oneself. The African Americans and other ethnical minorities are even at a higher risk. Therefore, the elderly populations of minorities have been exposed to social justice barriers as Alzheimer’s disease is among the conditions badly treated by the healthcare professionals in terms of providing the care. The major barriers are about the location, economic condition, as well as clinical and social knowledge, such as health illiteracy. Such barriers give the ground to discriminations and access limitations, which, in their turn, just exacerbate the inequalities in treatment. Moreover, the process of combating the disparities related to this case study requires elimination of the cultural prejudice, illnesses normalization, and provision of the equal healthcare services by the medical professionals.

The cases study suggested concentrating on four major areas that can be improved. The first area deals with the elimination of the perception differences associated with the causes of the disease. The major improvement that was done is related to the increase in the level of understanding and awareness among the healthcare industry workers. According to a popular myth, people of other ethnical origin develop particular forms of dementia during Alzheimer’s disease while the spiritual and religious beliefs of certain cultural groups play a crucial role. Based on the idea, the caregivers have developed own perceptions of dementia that are concern the context, situation, culture, and personality. The disparities in screening are another issue; its negative result is that many African Americans are being misdiagnosed with the higher possibilities of Alzheimer’s disease due to such a bias and associated misclassification. Therefore, usually, the healthcare professionals use culturally incentive and inaccurate testing methods. The next issue is about the diagnosis’s disparities while the patients, who are diagnosed at the early stages, respond to the treatments better. Therefore, it has been studied that people of the ethical minorities are treated for more than seven years, on the average; this long period is a result of the less frequent visits to the doctors and no proper monitoring of the disease. Moreover, in comparison to the whites, the African Americans are diagnosed more disproportionally. It is due to the associated healthcare costs and social injustice. The last factor is related to the disparities in terms of the care access. The patients that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are among those who need access to the medical facilities as a matter of priority while the healthcare professionals do not work as effectively with the cultural and ethnical minorities as they do work with the whites. Besides, a less effective care treatment in the hospitals is obvious as the African Americans and Hispanic people reported that they had a limited access to the required literature and other databases in comparison to the whites. It is an important factor, which negatively influences both the patients and the caregiver, who could have improved the health conditions.

It is obvious that the issue was handled by providing more training and increasing the level of understanding in the healthcare workers about the importance of providing equal service to the cultural and ethnical minorities in terms of Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Nevertheless, today, the outcome is not very positive as the concept of social justice has not been achieved in the modern society, even though the healthcare leaders try to make it happen. The case study also suggests several steps to solving the issue, which are about setting the blueprints related to the cultural and ethnical minorities that would be followed by every healthcare industry worker and organization. They should incorporate the definition of the culture, application of the cultural frames and actions, which should be taken in the cases of cultural misunderstanding and ethical dilemmas. The discussion of the healthcare reform and further improvements should not be stopped as the government can put in place the right policies that would help solve the issue. It means that a close liaison between the services and needs must be established in order to implement the needed improvements in terms of treating Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly minorities (Dilworth-Anderson, Pierre, 2012).

Suggested Improvements

As a future healthcare leader, I would handle the situation as it is suggested by the author of the article, but would start from implementing the awareness programs. Nevertheless, I would get prepared and have all the legal aspects covered; moreover, it is important to record any alleged misdiagnose. I believe that human life is the most precious thing irrespective of the ethical origin. As the healthcare leader, I would advocate the equal treatment of every person in order to put in place the principles of social justice. Moreover, I would use the concept of respect and would attempt to explain to all the healthcare workers that each patient deserves to enjoy it while equal treatment of both the whites and blacks is a perfect proof. I believe that ethical leadership is about understanding the cultural and personal beliefs of other people even if they do not come into agreement with your own.

From the case study described above, it is clear that the healthcare professionals have been facing many challenges in terms of the cultural and ethnical misunderstandings. Therefore, sometimes, even if they wanted to make a proper decision, they could not. The first and the most important factor that plays a crucial part in designing the healthcare facilities, as well as delivery of the health care and equipment, is definitely a human behavior that is based on culture and personal matters. The understanding of it is vital for the improvement of the situation associated with the ethical dilemmas.

The whole concept of culture and personal issues of other people must be implemented through a prism of a special medical program, which is a part of every healthcare industry that wants to avoid the ethical dilemmas. Prevention is always better that fighting the consequences, and much can be done in order to ensure the effectiveness of the prevention strategies.

I think that there must be a list of things implemented by the medical institution in order to have an ethical resemblance course. In such a manner, the healthcare professionals will receive knowledge about dealing with the ethical dilemmas, as not every practitioner knows how to cope with such issues immediately and effectively. I can suggest the introduction of special programs on the improved ethical awareness, as well as the engagement of the employees and understanding of the company’s mission and vision. They must promote the ethical principles and attempt to cover the possible cultural and communicational milestones, such as the respect issue mentioned earlier in the paper. Moreover, the introduction of the key performance indicators and asking for a regular feedback particularly from the minorities might be a perfect suggestion in solving this type of issue. People should not only follow the procedures but also be motivated and challenged in order to implement the improvements as the ethical maturity is the right way to achieving these results. Regular coaching and feedback sessions are to help the healthcare leaders get the insight to succeed in dealing with certain ethical dilemmas.

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The healthcare leaders are to respect, identify, and address the issues, values, differences and preferences of the patients in the patient-centered healthcare. They are to provide a continuous care, listen, communicate, and educate the patients about the wellbeing, health, disease prevention and management, which are the basic needs, and set the foundations of the ethical behavior. The advocacy is about providing the patients with the high-quality healthcare that involves strong leadership initiatives aimed at solving the ethical dilemmas. In reality, the healthcare practice is always changing; therefore, everyone should be a supporter in the changing environment, and dealing with the ethical issues is a crucial part. Ethical dilemmas are very common among the healthcare leaders, and they know how to deal with them according to their knowledge and personal leadership qualities.

It is important to mention that in terms of the ethical norms, respect must neither be biased, nor based on some potential benefit, nor applied only from time to time. It is a strong instrument that can help solve the ethical dilemmas when no right or wrong answer can be given by anyone. It is important to have a good communication with the patients and families and, even under stressful situation and challenges, keep calm and neutral as this behavior might help save people’s lives. The case study that was used in the following paper demonstrates that the social justice is the concept that purely depends on the human behavior. It can provide only one conclusion; the healthcare leaders shape the ethical norms and have an ability to make them better.