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Final paper

David Whitehead
Soc313: Social Implications of medical issues
Instructor Mussmann
January 11, 2015

When people suffer from illnesses that are fatal it is best to explain to the family the care
that needs to be provided for them. If you have a family member with an illness, it is best to find
out about the resources available. Ella has been sick and is requiring medical help. She insist on
using alternative and complementary medical practices, but her family wants her to use modern
medicine. Her husband, who insists to make decision on her behalf, as he is the head of the
family, opts for traditional practices. There are alternatives for her if she is discharged home to
receive treatment there. With her current situation with family members; the question arises will
she be able to recover and get the proper care because of all the illnesses in the family. Although
the family members have issues of their own at home. Stress related to her familys medical
issues (nephew with leukemia, brother with HIV, and her fathers perspective that they are all
crazy!) Ella is expected by the doctor to go home and receive care from there. The family
members are thus expected to provide her with all the care needed in order to enhance her
recovery. With the other family members with their own problems will she get the proper care
she needs?
Ellas husband wants the family traditions to be followed in her medications. He wants a
therapy that will adequately provide a permanent cure and relief. The husband challenging the
use of biomedical to traditional poses a great task to physicians and healers of any tradition. In
dealing with Ellas husband, the physician may apply certain guidelines. The physician should
analyze the discrepancies between the patient-family goals and the biomedical goals. All the
difficulties that may relate to miscommunication or communication style should be addressed
that cut across cultural boundaries Ella wishes for the use of a complementary system in her
treatment. Complementary medicines unite the best practices of both worlds. (Helen E
Sheehan; Barrett P Brento, 2002)

Home medical equipment allows seniors, persons with disabilities or chronic health
issues, and individuals recovering from an accident, surgery or illness to stay in their homes,
often at a much more affordable cost than an a brief stay in a hospital or a longer stay in a
nursing home or assisted living facility.( New England Journal of Medicine) Everyone in the
family has their own illnesses and problems. These are the family members that are supposed to
take care of Ella. The other family members will feel that they also need the special care as they
too are undergoing difficult situations in their lives. Palliative care is the best option for Ella as
its most suitable for people experiencing stress, pain or other conditions caused by a serious
illness. This care is appropriate at any of the stages of serious illness and patients usually are
given together with the treatment prescribed to cure the patient. (John Arras, 1995) From the
scenario, one can truly say that each member of the family does whatever they think is best for
them without considering the repercussions or other family members. It seems like all the family
members are irresponsible and there is no one to guide them into doing what is right. With Ella
coming home and requiring special care from all family members, this will indeed be a hard task.
The other family members will too feel that they also need the special care as they too are
undergoing difficult situations in their lives. All the above factors will cause conflicts and
differences among the family members and make everyones situation even worse. All these
aspects will derail Ellas progress in her therapy. They will indeed have an impact on their social
and psychological perspective on their basis of life. Home care enables one to have a more
control of their lives and care and provides a supportive and comfortable atmosphere that helps
to reduce stress and anxiety. The home care also with palliative team enables one to go on with

their daily lives while at the same time improving their ability to continue their therapy. It helps
one to better understand their conditions and the treatment choices available.
Behavioral, psychosocial, and societal risk factors have been implicated in the
development and progression of chronic diseases. (Schneiderman, 2004) The extended family
plays an important role in the whole therapy process of Ella. They are the immediate people to
offer therapy care to her and in view of this, their action on the situation will indeed have an
impact on the situation. The neighborhood is also like part of her family as they live in the same
surroundings. High chances are that the extended family and the neighbors may not feel it as
right to have Ella be taken care of at home. This is because of the circumstances surrounding her
family members who are supposed to take care of her. Their view would be that the family
members might have a negative impact on the treatments of Ella and thus derail her recovery.
Health, illness, and disability can be examined through the lens of social science, in terms of how
they impact individuals and groups within society. According to Dr. Anthony Giddens, a
professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, "One of [medical] sociologists' main
concerns is understanding the experience of illnesshow being sick, chronically ill, or disabled
is experienced by sick persons and by those with whom they interact" (Giddens, Deneier,
Appelbaum, & Carr, 2011, p. 407). Chronic conditions require ongoing management over a
period of years or decades and cover a wide range of health problems that go beyond the basic
chronic illness, such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
There are many problems to be solved and with a patient at home requiring care, this will
make things even worse. They may understand what Ella is going through but may not be able to
help her appropriately. Everyone in the family requires some type of care. Lucy has a genetic

predisposition for developing substance abuse largely because of what her family has
experienced. Her Uncle Sam is a good example of a family member who is suffering from
substance abuse and, if treated appropriately could possibly be diagnosed as suffering from
mental illness as well. The Miller family has a history of illness and disease, which can increase
substance abuse as each family has to deal with their own emotional and physical stress. The
situation has indeed changed the whole familys perspective of life. There are many problems to
be solved and with a patient at home requiring care, this will make things even worse. Each
member of the family minds about their affairs without being responsible for others in relation to
the actions they show. This will indeed hinder a positive development of their lives. As everyone
in the family requires the same care, their position on the situation may shift. They may
understand what Ella is going through but may not be able to help her appropriately. However,
with the necessary social agencies around the community, the situation may change and have a
positive impact.
One of the concerns I would have, however, is this: as I got older, my mental ability may
become such that I need someone else to begin to make decisions for me. It would appear that
my spouse would just continue my natural cures treatment, but if my spouse were to die before
me, then perhaps a child who did not share the same affection for natural cures would become
the decision maker. It is for this reason that I would take the time to write out my wishes
regarding my care and make it legal by securing a health care power of attorney and a living will.
Lastly, I would not want my family to experience any division or angst during the final
years of my life; therefore, I would sit down with all of them and express my wishes for my care.

I would work hard to help each of them understand how I felt and why I felt that way; hopefully,
this would provide a level of comfort and peace as I continued on for as long as I could.


Helen E Sheehan; Barrett P Brento (2002) Global perspectives on complementary and

alternative medicine
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Atlas, S., Matthews, J.R., Fritsvold, E., & Vinall, P.E., (2014). Social implications of
chronic illness & disability. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
John Arras (1995) Bringing the hospital home : ethical and social implications of hightech home care
Schneiderman, N. (2004). Psychosocial, behavioral, and biological aspects of chronic
diseases. Current directions in Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 13(6),
247-251. doi:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.00318.x. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost