The increasing number of people turning 65, the high number of elders with health constraints, and the sky-rocketing price of health care posits the question of how are we going to care for all the elders who constitute, today the upcoming silver tsunami?
More than 40 percent of adult patients in acute care hospital beds are 65 or older. Seventy million Americans will have turned 65 by 2030. They include the 85-and-older cohort, the nation’s fastest-growing age group. Elderly people often have multiple chronic illnesses, expensive to treat, and they are apt to require costly hospital re-admissions, sometimes as often as 10 times in a single year. Living Well Assisted Living at Home has designed a new model of comprehensive care that will help care for elders at home, including those who are frail, recovering from surgery, accidents or any illness. The model also strives to care for those suffering from dementia, at home.
In an article written by Milt Freudenheim for the Health section of the New York Times, in June 28, 2010, we find how geriatricians and other professionals are lobbying for best practices in the field of aging. In the article it is stressed the fact of how “..to stay independent, the elderly will need to stay healthy. Many of these people could be back on the golf course and enjoying their grandchildren if we did the right thing for them,” said Mary D. Naylor, a longtime geriatric care researcher and professor of gerontology in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsilvania. Her research showed that even fragile older people could avoid a quick return to the hospital if they are managed by teams of nurses, social workers, physicians and therapists, together with their own family members. Hospital re-admissions, which cost $17 billion a year, could be reduced by 20 percent — $3.5 billion — or more, she said…” Obviously a new approach to care for the elder is imperative if we wnat to promote wellness in this sector of the population and reduce the increasing costs of caring for seniors.
Mr. Freudenheim continues by saying: “…Many internists, family physicians and other primary care doctors are lobbying for payments for a team approach based in the physician’s office. The concept, which they call a patient-centered medical home, will be tried out under the new health care law by Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurers. Secretary Sebelius has called the medical home idea “one of our most promising models for improving the quality of care and bringing down health care costs…”
Read the article.