Perceptions of the Nanny
I heard the BBC news report how there is a risk of high numbers of alcohol-related deaths in the future. Incorporated into this story was the idea that government needed to do something to prevent this from happening. Currently this is being done through a "sin" tax and other regulatory steps. The NHS published this account of the information:
The same day, I read this account of how the First Lady, Michelle Obama, is being brought to task by Michelle Bachmann about her endorsement of breast feeding:
The cultural differences really stand out in these two stories. What one country views as sliding towards a "nanny state," the other views as a public service message. What one views as responsible action, the other views as the government imposing its will on the people. When I read the USA Today report to my British colleagues, they were dumbfounded at the response of Michelle Bachmann. I'm sure a few of my United States readers will be amazed to know that most Brits actually do hope and want the government to "do something" about the possibility of an increase in alcohol-related deaths.
What does this have to do with PT? As health practitioners, are we giving comprehensive care if we advise clients to clear clutter out of their homes to prevent a fall or are we being too nanny-like? What if we advise on weight loss to obese patients? Are we interfering with their autonomy or providing necessary intervention? Does it make a difference if Medicare or Medicaid is paying?
I've learned in my public health studies that the U.S. Constitution provides only for the "general welfare" of the public. That is a term that can be interpreted in more ways than Tarot cards.
Where are we as a profession on the "nanny scale?"