Document Detail

Changing factors and changing needs in women's health care.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3513129     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The aforementioned social trends affecting women, including women in poverty, women in the labor force, and elderly women, are all ultimately related to problems of access to health care. In almost every age group, women use more health and medical services. Women are hospitalized more often, although their stays in hospitals tend to be shorter. Women also make more visits to health care providers for preventive health care, such as examinations and dental care. Access to care, however, is tied to ability to pay for the care. Medicaid payments for medical care are related to eligibility criteria in each state. Recent cuts in federal programs targeted eligibility for welfare and Medicaid. In 1982, 725,000 welfare recipients were declared ineligible. Given the earlier discussion of the predominance of women among those labeled poor in this country and the fact that two thirds of Medicaid recipients are women, these cutbacks have serious implications for women's health. Women are less likely to have medical insurance than men. Insurance coverage as a benefit is least likely to be offered in those areas where women work: part-time employment, small businesses, and manufacturing industries. Insurance eligibility is often dependent on a woman's marital status, despite the fact that 41.5 per cent of all American women are not spousal dependents. Insurance companies frequently adjust premiums for sex, age, income, race, and workforce characteristics, a policy which works against women. As the field of women's health expands and receives more emphasis, the data reflecting the experiences of large groups of women will have to be collected and analyzed ever more carefully. Information collected should include physiologic, psychosocial, and economic factors that together affect the health status of women. These data may then be used to guide health policy decision making, as well as provide a basis for health promotion and disease prevention interventions with individual clients.
As a result of decreases in maternal mortality and infectious diseases, women's life expectancy has increased rapidly in this century and is expected to reach 83 years by the year 2000. However, there are a large number of chronic conditions that negatively affect the quality of life of women today: urinary tract infection, menstrual cycle disorders, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, eating disorders, substance abuse, and mental depression. Although women's life expectancy is 7.5 years greater than that of men, the morbidity rates are significantly higher for women. As women continue to enter the labor force in large numbers, questions are being raised regarding the physical and psychological hazards of jobs traditionally considered to be women's work, the risks associated with jobs that are physically demanding or involve exposure to toxic substances, and the association between pregnancy outcome and employment. Further research is needed on the effects of multiple role stress on women's health. Another recent trend has been the feminization of poverty: 2/3 of all US adults classified as poor are women. The lack of financial resources has a detrimental effect on nutrition, access to health care, and other preventive behaviors. Yet another social change related to women's health is the increasing number of elderly in the population. Women comprise 72% of the elderly poor, and over 80% of all retiring female workers do not have pension benefits. Access to, availability of, and payment for health care are problems for elderly women. It is important that research address the physiologic, psychosocial, and economic factors that together affect women's health status.
L A Leslie; S M Swider
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Nursing clinics of North America     Volume:  21     ISSN:  0029-6465     ISO Abbreviation:  Nurs. Clin. North Am.     Publication Date:  1986 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1986-03-28     Completed Date:  1986-03-28     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0042033     Medline TA:  Nurs Clin North Am     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  111-23     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM; J; N    
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MeSH Terms
Birth Rate
Child, Preschool
Contraception / methods
Health Services Accessibility / trends
Health Services Needs and Demand / trends*
Health Services Research / trends*
Health Status Indicators
Infant, Newborn
Infertility, Female / epidemiology
Life Expectancy
Mental Disorders / epidemiology
Middle Aged
Social Change*
Socioeconomic Factors
United States

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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