Problems with Elderly Care in the Current Health System
Geriatric care focuses specifically on the health care needs of the elderly by taking preventative measures against diseases most common in this demographic. It also comprises treatment plans that are inclusive and less invasive and prioritize patient care and comfort. There are all kinds of professionals specializing in geriatric care, such as social workers, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, and nutritionists.
It might seem too obvious to state, but the probability of disease and disability for the older demographic is higher than any other. Some of the worst chronic conditions that can impact them include Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, and other heart and pulmonary diseases.
Managing these diseases can be costly in the long run, and preparing for them means accessing premium insurance and good quality health care. However, that is currently not the case. Here are some startling statistics about geriatric health care that will shed more light on the problems that plague our health care system.
· According to projections, approximately eight and a half million older people will have Alzheimer's within the next decade.
· Around 38% of adults over 75 experienced cognitive decline with significant functional limitations since 2015.
· Around 29% of older adults are obese, which puts them at risk of contracting other diseases.
· Around 27% of seniors aged 65 and above fell in the past year.
Here are some of the problems in the healthcare system that impacts elderly care.
Lack of quality of care
Older people are not considered a priority for receiving adequate health care as most medical and nursing staff are not as responsive as they should be. Moreover, even though standard care and treatments are provided to the elderly, they don't react optimally and have to remain hospitalized for more extended periods. The longer they stay hospitalized, the more gradual the decline in the quality of care.
Health care is complex and time-consuming
Medical professionals are often quick to dismiss elderly patients as they have more complicated diseases and care. Health professionals feel hesitant in taking them as patients and hence providing quality care because they have to address multiple conditions simultaneously.
Often, elderly patients remain hospitalized for long periods, leading to a higher mortality rate because numerous complications can occur. Instead of receiving standard care, they fall victim to multiple chronic diseases that only exacerbate.
Elderly patients with critical or terminal illnesses are often sidelined, whereas younger patients are given more preference because their chances of recovery are higher. Treating elderly patients insignificantly is unfair because they have the right to be treated and cared for just as much as any other patient.
Andy Lazris, MD, is a practicing primary care physician, a student of history, and has been an author for most of his life, writing both fiction and about our health care system. Check out his e-books online or learn more about him here.