The Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada asked whether Medicare is sustainable in its present form. Well, Medicare is not sustainable for at least six reasons. Given a long list of factors, such as Canada's changing dependency ratio, the phenomenon of diminishing returns from increased taxation, competing provincial expenditure needs, low labour and technological productivity in government-funded healthcare, the expectations held by baby boomers, and the evolving value sets of Canadians--Medicare will impoverish Canada within the next couple of decades if not seriously recast. As distasteful as parallel private-pay, private-choice healthcare may be to some policy makers and providers who grew up in the 1960s, the reality of the 2020s will dictate its necessity as a pragmatic solution to a systemic problem.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to develop a comprehensive understanding of Aboriginal women's experiences and perceptions of providing care to the elderly in geographically isolated communities (GIC). Research with Aboriginal women caregivers is essential as the population of Aboriginal elders is increasing, and Aboriginal women represent the majority of caregivers in their communities.
This study was guided by focused ethnography, which seeks an understanding of a sub-group within a cultural group by uncovering the less obvious expressions and behaviours of the sub-group members. Using one-on-one open-ended interviews and participant observation, 13 women from a number of Aboriginal communities in northern and southern Ontario participated in this study. Data analysis was conducted by reviewing transcripts of interviews to identify codes and themes.
Study findings revealed that four concentric circles represent the caring experiences of the Aboriginal women participants: the healers, the family, the Aboriginal community, and the non-Aboriginal community. Cultural values greatly informed participants' perceptions about caring for elderly persons in GIC. These values are represented in five themes: passing on traditions, being chosen to care, supporting the circle of healers, (re)establishing the circles of care, and accepting/refusing external resources.
The findings from this study have significant implications for healthcare practice and future research.
Abortion, particularly later-term abortion, and neonaticide, selective non-treatment of newborns, are feasible management strategies for fetuses or newborns diagnosed with severe abnormalities. However, policy varies considerably among developed nations. This article examines abortion and neonatal policy in four nations: Israel, the US, the UK and Denmark. In Israel, late-term abortion is permitted while non-treatment of newborns is prohibited. In the US, on the other hand, later-term abortion is severely restricted, while treatment to newborns may be withdrawn. Policy in the UK and Denmark bridges some of these gaps with liberal abortion and neonatal policy. Disparate policy within and between nations creates practical and ethical difficulties. Practice diverges from policy as many practitioners find it difficult to adhere to official policy. Ethically, it is difficult to entirely justify perinatal policy in these nations. In each nation, there are elements of ethically sound policy, while other aspects cannot be defended. Ethical policy hinges on two underlying normative issues: the question of fetal/newborn status and the morality of killing and letting die. While each issue has been the subject of extensive debate, there are firm ethical norms that should serve as the basis for coherent and consistent perinatal policy. These include 1) a grant of full moral and legal status to the newborn but only partial moral and legal status to the late-term fetus 2) a general prohibition against feticide unless to save the life of the mother or prevent the birth of a fetus facing certain death or severe pain or suffering and 3) a general endorsement of neonaticide subject to a parent's assessment of the newborn's interest broadly defined to consider physical harm as well as social, psychological and or financial harm to related third parties. Policies in each of the nations surveyed diverging from these norms should be the subject of public discourse and, where possible, legislative reform.
Abortion is not condoned in Jamaica. Its meaning is linked to the meanings of kinship and parenthood, which are expressed through procreation and involve altruism and the assumption of responsibility for the well-being of others. Abortion subverts these ideals but indigenous methods for it are known and are secretly used. The inconsistencies between abortion talk and abortion practice are examined, and the structural functions of abortion (and of its culturally constructed, ideological meaning) are discussed. The distinction--and the overlap--between abortion as such and menstrual regulation is explored. The use of the culturally constructed 'witchcraft baby' syndrome to justify abortion is also investigated. Traditional abortion techniques follow from (and can illuminate) general health practices, which focus on inducing the ejection of 'blockages' and toxins, and from ethnophysiological beliefs about procreation and reproductive health, which easily allow for menstrual delays not caused by conception. The latter understanding and the similarity between abortifacients, emmenagogues and general purgatives allows women flexibility in interpreting the meanings of their missed periods and the physical effects of the remedy.
Advances in medical technology now permit children who need ventilator assistance to live at home rather than in hospitals or institutions. What does this ventilator-dependent life mean to children and their families? The impetus for this essay comes from a study of the moral experience of 12 Canadian families--parents, ventilator-dependent child, and well siblings. These families express great love for their children, take on enormous responsibilities for care, live with uncertainty, and attempt to create "normal" home environments. Nevertheless, they experience social isolation, sometimes even from their extended families and health care providers. Their lives are constrained in many ways. The challenges faced by parents of technology-dependent children raise questions of justice within society and within families.
This study examined adolescents' attitudes of cosmetic surgery, as well as the relationships between these attitudes, body appreciation, body ideal internalization, and fashion blog reading. The sample comprised 110 (60 boys, 50 girls) late adolescents (mean age 16.9 years) from a Swedish high school. The results indicated that younger adolescents seem somewhat more accepting of cosmetic surgery. This was especially the case for boys' acceptance of social motives for obtaining cosmetic surgery (boys' M=2.3±1.55 vs. girls' M=1.7±0.89). Girls', and to a limited extent boys', internalization of the thin ideal was related to more favorable cosmetic surgery attitudes. Athletic ideal internalization and body appreciation were unrelated to these attitudes. Finally, girls who frequently read fashion blogs reported higher thin ideal internalization, and also demonstrated a slight tendency of more cosmetic surgery consideration.
Reproductive technology has made a huge impact on society, exposing many long-standing, unresolved anomalies in our values and traditions. Access to medically assisted reproduction is particularly controversial, raising medical, legal and ethical issues. The 1980s saw increasing demands across several jurisdictions for clear legal rules, the hope being expressed in Canada that "the law may reflect the community's level of tolerance; but...also stretch or fashion it in the interests of a worthy goal." The Canadian Law Reform Commission recommended that, with regard to donor insemination, "protection for the traditional family should not be incorporated in legislation" and that "access should be limited only in terms of the cost and scarcity of resources", selection not being based on "family status, sexual orientation and so on". This paper attempts a comparative examination of UK legislation on reproductive technology in this light, with particular focus on the rationing of access to donor insemination.