Personal Responsibility in Healthcare

Personal responsibility in a health care system is an important aspect whose authenticity should not be disputed. So to speak, there has been a controversy on the question whether personal responsibility should be incorporated in the healthcare system or not.  In this connection, personal responsibility on the basis of health care system can be defined as a concept that leads to healthy lifestyles and the aspect of  been  a good patient. Healthy lifestyles may involve things like exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and the aspect of avoiding alcohol and smoking among others.

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On the other hand, being a good patient can be described as an aspect of being keen to follow instructions given by the doctors and the care fraternity. In this regard, a good patient will keep in with appointments, heed the advice of physicians and make the use of the emergency department only for emergencies. Personal responsibility in general terms, would mean that every person or rather individual is responsible for his or her well being as it in health part of it. In addition, it can be defined as a concept that requires every person to take a personal responsibility to ensure that his or her health is well taken care of.

Research Findings and Discussion

From this point of view, my opinion on personal responsibility is not absolute but instead it should be an integration of the society’s responsibility and personal responsibility accordingly. According to my research from books, most of the health costs are as a result of chronic conditions or diseases. As such, these diseases are behaviors related. This is to suggest that most of these diseases are caused by unhealthy behaviors as well as practices of which they all depend on personal responsibility (Verheijde, 2005). Taking an example of a patient who fails keep an appointment with the physician concerning his or her health, it is not in reality the responsibility of the care provider but the responsibility of the patient to make sure he or she keeps the appointment.

There are however, very many causes for miscalculated behaviors that lead to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among others. There are many people who take poor diets and have unhealthy living styles due to poverty. Some others will contract diseases like asthma from the kind of environment they live as they are exposed to dust throughout. At the same time, one may know the right meals or diet to take but due to lack and scarcity of resources he or she may end up not taking. This does not mean that the individual does not take the personal responsibility of her health by feeding well but the circumstances force this to occur (Denier, 2007).

A good health care system rewards the patients with good health through medication and other related services at affordable charges. This is to mean that the community or the people being served by the health care are rewarded by good health and less spending of their money. Care providers have complained of patients not being able to follow the instructions and the plan given. Nonetheless, it remains to be a question that needs to be addressed on the options that the patients are given to.

I feel that our society and the health care system are themselves to be blamed and therefore they should be in a position to make provision for appropriate options in order to enable the patients to take personal responsibility. For example, a diabetic patient should only be instructed to take the prescribed food of which she or he can find and again afford. Thus, the availability of food and its affordability is key if the patient is going to take personal responsibility on the healthcare (Verheijde, 2005). In the case of those patients that suffer from heart diseases, there should be available facilities for the patients to exercise safely.

From a broader point of view, there are quiet many different reasons that lead one to drug abuse, an unhealthy lifestyle. They range from psychological problems, poor living environments, genetic inclination, influence by advertising and marketing strategies used in media, peer pressure, family problems, eye-catching consumption brought about by the form of free enterprise in place and other such like basis.

Following this trend, the people start these behaviors at a very young age when they are quiet vulnerable. As such, are the ways or paths taken by smokers and those that suffer from obesity and the related illnesses? Such reasons as highlighted lead to lifestyles that are detrimental to ones health but this cannot be mistaken for the poor decisions they always go for. Instead of blaming the sick for their sicknesses, efforts should be made towards making a change on our culture as well as lifestyles that lead to such destructive behaviors.  This can be achieved by means of making a proviso of effective rehabilitative and psychological services (Porter & Teisberg, 2006).

Investments should be directed towards prevention services and programs that promote and motivate people to adapt health styles (Denier, 2007). There are several examples of how one can take personal responsibility of his or her health. They comprise of intake of low calorie foods, avoiding much alcohol and drug abuse, exercising and avoiding much exposure to sun among others. In other cases, one should be able to manage and use his or her finances with a lot of wisdom as it may be a remedy in the day when catastrophic or chronic conditions strike.

An individual should in addition ensure that he or she avoids short term pleasures which in most cases have potential health penalties. Again, people should be in a position to take the personal responsibility see a doctor, dentist, and therapists and as time and chance allows, the treatments should be cost effective.  I have just put it forward that in most cases the sick are not to be blamed but healthcare should be made available and affordable to all the people even those that have abused their bodies through undesirable healthy styles. Changes in our culture, economic system and governments need to be made in order to safeguard the lives of the citizens. Junk food for instance, has been pointed out as a cause for the increasing cases of obesity (Porter & Teisberg, 2006).

A necessary change that can be viable is making junk food more expensive as compared to health food. Advertising through televisions to young people should be avoided especially for tobacco and alcohol. Furthermore, manufacturers and food industry should be regulated to ensure that health standards are met together with the encouraging of the physical activity as a requirement for health living. In the same line of thought, it should be rewarded when care providers provide cost effective care along with preventive services.

Following this point, the insurers should also be made recognition of by ensuring that costumers or rather patients are able to access healthcare care services by means of quality and cost (Verheijde, 2005). In line with this, the society should seek to fill the gap that exists between the rich and the poor and ensure that the uninsured due to poverty and resource scarcity are insured and that quality care is available, accessible and affordable for utilization by the community in the larger perspective. Culture can be a stumbling block to development as there are some of unhealthy living styles as well as practices that are not only a personal responsibility but social responsibility in order for healthcare to work.

From a personal point of view, healthcare should not be made available on the basis of the conditions of personal responsibility. In actual sense, it should be the responsibility of the insurance industry to provide health coverage to people that does not participate in their own wellness. One may term such a point to be an exercise in futility, but, as earlier on highlighted, people have different reasons as to why they do not participate in their own wellness. Some happen to be immature like children and teenagers, other have psychological problems, family problems, genetic inclination and the environment one lives in. As a result, no one who should be blamed for personal responsibility of his or her health. As an alternative, the health care system and the society at large should share in the personal responsibility of ones well being by ensuring that access and utilization of health care services is not conditioned to personal responsibility but to all the population (Verheijde, 2005).

This is not to excuse people from being personally responsible but if we take an example of an individual who is illiterate and is bond by the culture towards adapting health living styles, will one blame such a person for his or her sickness? (Chapman, 1994). Such are some of questions that should be addressed by programs designed specifically to make individuals to be informed of the best health living styles, improving their environment by ensuring safety and clean air and water and teaching people on the best ways of taking a personal responsibility of ones health as well as exposing the risks associated and benefits at the same time.  

Following the above discussion and observation, my opinion is that the health care system should not concentrate on blaming the patients to have a personal responsibility of their health. Instead, they should provide them with options in collaboration with the local government, community, wellbeing and human service givers to build up approaches to attend to the social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors of health (Chapman, 1994).  This will help the people to well realize the risks and benefits associated with personal responsibility.


According to my research findings, personal responsibility in healthcare should be the responsibility of the insurance industry to provide health coverage to people that does not participate in their own wellness. This is because of the reasons that lead to one failing to participate in his/her own wellness. For that reason, measures that can alleviate the burden brought about by lack of personal responsibility in healthcare have been provided since health care is a right and not a personal responsibility. Therefore each and everyone, willing or not ,has a right to access and utilize cost effective health care despite the willingness he or she has to participate in his or her wellness.

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