Having worked as an international physician and a consultant in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for many years, and motivated by his daily experience with his wife who had suffered from the sudden onset of a stroke, Dr. Randolph Estwick, a resident of Woodland Pond at New Paltz, recently published his experiences and perceptions in a book, The Healthcare Dilemma: An Inside View.
“My wife was the inspiration for this book,” said Dr. Estwick. “Typically, the effects of a stroke are the main cause of long-term illness and disability, requiring long-term care either at home or at an institution. I have had first-hand experience of what happens when a traumatic event occurs within a family. I found myself in a very unique position of being two persons in one; the experienced physician on one side of the coin, and the spouse of the victim of a major medical event, a stroke, on the other side. I have concluded that it was easier as a consulting physician. I hope that the perspectives presented may be helpful in improving the care and outlook of victims of a stroke or other disabling conditions.”
Dr. Estwick has published articles in several scientific publications, including The American Journal of Physiology, Cancer and Geriatrics, where he has written about the rehabilitation management of “Central Cervical Cord Compression Syndrome,” among other similar topics. He has also served as a reviewer for the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Estwick’s desire is to share his experiences and his perceptions with those who need help navigating the healthcare system, so they are able to make informed decisions in selecting an institution either for themselves or for their loved ones.
The book contains information for those seeking long-term care, the pros and cons of senior care, a comparison of institutional communities versus care at home, and information on how the healthcare system could be improved.
His suggestion is to start investing in long-term healthcare coverage as soon as you are able – whether you are a young adult, on the verge of retirement or even if you are retired. If you initiate coverage at an early age, he says, your premium will be much lower. His research shows that people easily spend $500 a day, and more on long-term healthcare.
“I have also included helpful tools for those who are searching for long-term care facilities,” said Dr. Estwick. “I created a table with ten criteria, and each criteria/item is given a rating from 1 to 10. The highest possible score for all items is 100; the higher the score, the better the care provider. The criteria listed includes staff to patient ratio, communication in English, orderliness of the facility (odor, appearance, organization), and years of continuous employment, just to name a few. I provide narratives for each category so readers may understand their significance.”
The book took Dr. Estwick two years to complete. He took the time to gather facts and a large body of support including on-site observation, but no names or places to highlight his main points. He believes the information presented in his book will make a significant impact because it relates to people – real people who are suffering and are affected by the current healthcare delivery system.
“Relatively few people can afford healthcare and have to rely on other agencies (Medicaid, Medicare) to help with the cost,” expressed Dr. Estwick. “People simply do not earn enough money to pay for the costs of their long-term healthcare. When you get older, you will reach a point where you are unable to care for yourself, and you will require care, but the quality of care you receive will be comparable to what you pay. These perceptions are not a critique of the healthcare system, they are realities. My intention is to strike a balance between those who operate the system and the recipients of healthcare. The question I want people to ask is, ‘How do we improve the system?’”
“I had an advance look at Dr. Estwick’s book, and am impressed with the breadth of topics covered, and the honest, comprehensive viewpoint that Dr. Estwick has offered his readers,” said Michelle Gramoglia, Executive Director of Woodland Pond at New Paltz. “There are a number of excerpts and points made in the book that our staff at all levels will benefit from having read; it is incredibly valuable to understand the perspective of a man with all of Dr. Estwick’s personal experience and credentials.”