Focusing on the Aging Issues in Saudi Arabia Health System Care for Alzheimer's Disease Patients Term Paper

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Aging Issues in Saudi Arabia Health System

Focusing on the Aging Issues in the Saudi Arabian Health System and Care for Alzheimer's disease Patients

Counted amongst the richest countries in the world, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has plentiful resources at its disposal that it has devoted to the establishment and proper functioning of an effective healthcare system. As a result of which, the health statistics of the general population and the health services being provided have greatly improved, qualitatively and quantitatively, over the past few decades. Although there is a great participation from private sectors, the country majorly provides health care via its government facilities. Hence, the medical services provided at large are free of charge. If there is no treatment available for a specific disease then the citizen is shipped to the best medical facilities in the world for their treatments. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allocates the highest proportion of its national budget toward the improvement and betterment of the health care system of the country. Hence, the budget for just the health reforms can match the national overall budgets of several countries.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistic, the Saudi health care system is ranked 26th in world rankings beating out health-care systems of countries such as Canada, New Zealand as well as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the way up. The health care system at the national level is divided into two tiers. The primary health care, which has been entrusted with the Ministry of Health (MoH), is made available through numerous government agencies operated by the MoH for the provision of preventive, curative, prenatal and emergency services to the population of the KSA (Almalki, Fitgerald, & Clark, 2011 ). The Ministry of Health, as a provider of the primary services, currently finances and operates 244 hospitals with 2037 beds available. The Ministry of Health is also responsible for the planning, supervision, regulation, financing and management of health care centers in the public as well as the private sectors. Private sector hospitals are less in number, and have a lower capacity than that of the government facilities, and are either not-for-profit or operated by private companies for provision of medical services to their employees. It also operates mobile clinics for the provision of basic and emergency medical services in rural areas of the Kingdom (Pallot, 2011). The government provision of health services amounts to 60% of the health system.

The second tier of the health system provides specialized health care services located mostly in urbanized areas. This along with Military Hospitals including the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) which provide medical services to the armed forces and their families, make up the healthcare system of Saudi Arabia. Other government agencies include referral hospitals in the tertiary sectors such as King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, for which, again, the government pays for when a patient goes there for specialized treatment. Although the private and military hospitals provide services only to their employees and their families, they may provide medical treatment to all in emergency situations, e.g. The outbreak of an epidemic. Alongside so many hospitals also works the Saudi Red Crescent Society that usually provides emergency medical services at the pre-hospital stage, in the case of an accident or in/during the transportation of the patients to the hospital from their various locations.

The healthcare services provided by these government agencies are all top-of-the-line and state-of-the-art. The doctors employed in these hospitals are often foreign with degrees from top institutes from all over the world. Despite of this, there are several chinks the Saudi health care system armor. One of the challenges that are faced by the Saudi government in the widespread provision of medical services is because of the geographical spread of the country. The country consists of a rapidly growing population with many cities and villages scattered all over it. It is rather difficult to set up a specialized medical treatment facility in each city and village. The country's capital, Riyadh, alone is the home to a population of 5 million. Regardless of the numerous medical facilities being operated by the governmental, private and non-governmental bodies, there is a distinct lack of coordination and/or clear channels of communication amongst them, which results in a duplication of the work, hence a waste of resources. The major challenge, however, is the management of the medical facilities. The hospitals are staffed largely by expatriates and foreigners. There is Saudi medical staff as well but not as many. But even then, there is a clear need for not only more Saudi medical staff members but also more expatriates. In order to lure more foreign medical staff into the country to look after the needs of the ever-growing population, monetary enticements are not enough. There is a lack of care being taken of the foreign hospital workers. These foreign medical workers belong to different cultures, which mean that they have certain needs. The issue of these needs have to be addressed as soon as possible. There should be greater entertainment options for the foreign staff in order to come and serve in the country. There may be negative impacts on the overall performance and the main objectives, which the KSA government is trying to achieve via health reforms if these issues are not promptly responded to.

However, there are a few facilities that address the issue of the care required by the citizens in their old age, and the treatment and management of diseases that plague them in that time. Nursing homes that care for elderly citizens in their old age in the management of their diseases are few in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is due to the underlying values of the religion and cultures prevailing in the country, that it is the duty of the children and relatives to care for the elderly and sick in their family themselves. The small number of nursing home facilities may also be due to the high youth demographic in the country. With only 3% of the population above the age 63 (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013), justifiably there are hardly ten nursing homes across the country, all of which are operated by the government agency, the Ministry of Social Affairs, that admits only those elderly citizen that do not have any relatives to look after them. These homes provide shelter, food, healthcare and clothing to the inmates of the nursing homes (Aboul-Enein, 2005). However, there is a lack of specialized skilled staff that would manage the specific diseases encountered by the elderly patients in their old age. While the elderly patients that being cared for at home by their relatives often find it difficult to manage as the relatives find it hard to cope up with certain diseases such as dementia and strokes, of which they have no prior training and handling experience. However, it is common for each family with an elderly patient to employ a private nurse for their care.

The most common disease to plague the elderly is dementia. Although it affects only the senior citizens of a community, dementia is not normally a part of ageing. Often occurring in the ages 65-70, it can happen to anyone. As the years pass by, the elderly suffer many diseases that result in them suffering from dementia, whereby the higher functioning of their brain is affected (Ogunniyi, et al., 1998). Dementia results in memory loss, moodiness and the patient suffering from communicative difficulties. This may make caring for the elderly a hard task if they suffering from dementia.

The most common cause of dementia is the Alzheimer's disease (WHO, 2012). Alzheimer's is a progressive degenerative ailment that attacks the brain. Being progressive, the dementia caused by Alzheimer's worsened over time, and affects the performance of daily tasks. It starts out with the individual being unable to carry or respond to a conversation. As of today there is no available cure to treating Alzheimer's completely. However, there are treatments that can slow down its progress, and reduce the onset of the dementia. But all such treatments are temporary, and cannot get rid of the disease. The research towards finding a cure for Alzheimer's is continuing in several large medical research hospitals all over the world, including in the KSA.

People living with Alzheimer's disease tend to have an average life of eight years after their symptoms take prominence. But that depends majorly upon the health and other conditions of the patient. The lifespan of an Alzheimer's patient can range from four to twenty years depending upon these factors. It is therefore necessary that the patient is given quality care at such a time where they themselves cannot respond to their own environment. The focus upon the facilities that treat Alzheimer's patients and nursing homes is to make the patient as comfortable as possible along with administrating their daily dose of their prescribed medicines and drugs.

In Saudi Arabia, there is a lack of information regarding… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Focusing on the Aging Issues in Saudi Arabia Health System Care for Alzheimer's Disease Patients.  (2013, July 29).  Retrieved December 14, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/focusing-aging-issues-saudi-arabia/4380838

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