Healthcare Policy Issues Essay

650 WordsFeb 23, 20153 Pages
Current care of our psychiatrically and mentally challenged Americans is a travesty. While some states are doing well, others are abysmal at best in their care for those in need of mental health care. In my area of the country, long waits in the emergency department are more common than not, days, not hours are often the case. Emergency departments are not the best place for these individuals. They need specialized care that is often over looked in the fast pace of an emergency department. This is an ongoing health care issue that affects nurses because of the constant strain on resources and staffing. Along with this strain, comes the danger of patients that are violent with outbursts directed at themselves or nursing staff. A recent video is making its way around social media showing a violent patient attacking staff in a nurse’s station with a metal pole (IV pole possibly) in an emergency department in the Midwest. This could happen anywhere. There are departments that have dealt with violence in the work place and have plans in place for action but for those departments that have not prepared, they are in grave danger. There needs to be a plan for increasing care and accessibility for these patients. Another complex issue within mental healthcare is the use of drugs and alcohol. A lot of people may have an underlying psychiatric diagnosis that may or may not have been discovered yet and frequently self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. In Colorado, there is easy access to marijuana. This has become a common answer when patients are asked if they smoke, yes to marijuana, no to tobacco products. The self medication by patients with legal or illegal substances makes it far more difficult to provide care to these patients when they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. According to the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

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