Ethical Dilemmas Around Health Literacy
Health literacy is associated with a number of ethical dilemmas especially in the course of healthcare practice (Parker, 2000). Ethical issues surrounding the implementation and changing of discharge /plan of care for instructions which the patients receive at the outpatient department after a visit. There is a challenge in the process of decision making in the outpatient department since there is a clash of ideas (Ottosdottir & Evans, 2014). In most circumstances, the ethical dilemma related to health literacy is difficult to deal with in the healthcare setting due to the imbalance of the authorities. The decision of making a plan of care on the patients is difficult to make since the healthcare team management are aware of their rights.
Ethical Issues (Statement and Definition)
In the outpatient department, implementation of discharge plans of the patients is difficult due to the literacy dilemmas. In most cases, language and cost is a significant challenge. In the outpatient department, the language of health cannot be in different languages (Ottosdottir & Evans, 2014). Most patients are not aware of their human rights due to the challenges of linguistics. Some healthcare decisions are made although they are biased due to the inability of the clients to understand the languages. It forces the patients to accept discharge or hospitalization since they have no otherwise but to accept the decisions.
Another ethical dilemma surrounding the health literacy especially in the outpatient department is the cost of implementation of the recommendations. It is very costly to include different languages in the healthcare system since there must be interpreters. It is a serious goal of the healthcare fraternity to manage the financial resources and therefore it is a dilemma to choose to invest in the change of literacy issues or conserve the money (Ottosdottir & Evans, 2014). The management of money also comes with its disadvantages since the choice of the patients of hospitalization is violated.
- Is language fragmentation a requirement in the choice of hospitalization in the outpatient department?
- What is the cost of language policy implementation and how does it correlate with the decisions of conservation and failure to implement the same?
Stakeholders’ Values and Power Imbalances
The healthcare workers are the stakeholders in the ethical dilemmas surrounding the literacy in health. The healthcare team has the right to decide on the discharge plans and the admission plans in the inpatient department irrespective of the patient misunderstanding (Ottosdottir & Evans, 2014). The patients are the other key stakeholders on the ethical dilemma surrounding health literacy, and they value their rights although the wishes of the healthcare team overweigh their will. The government values the lives of the patients, but it has no power to execute such if the healthcare team is not willing to cooperate hence there is an imbalance in power.
Courses of Actions, Arguments and Possible Consequences
- Equalization of the right of the citizens so that they can be aware of the management of their services. The best way to eliminate the ethical dilemmas is by focusing on the rights of everyone.
- Empowering the healthcare team to do what they feel is legal as long as the objectives of healthcare are met. The compliments and critics of other stakeholders should not control the decisions which are made.
- Active supervision of the healthcare providers on the courses of actions and decisions which are made to ensure that the rights of everyone are respected.
1. Ottosdottir, G., & Evans, R. (2014). Ethics of care in supporting disabled forced migrants: Interactions with professionals and ethical dilemmas in health and social care in the south-east of England. The British Journal of Social Work, 44(suppl_1), i53-i69.
2. Parker, R. (2000). Health literacy: A challenge for American patients and their health care providers. Health Promotion International. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/15/4/277/595941
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