Pro­vide bet­ter health ser­vices for older peo­ple

Panay News - - OPINION -

THE

World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion ( WHO) is spear­head­ing the call for a new ap­proach in pro­vid­ing health ser­vices for the older peo­ple.

The call was made in con­nec­tion with the re­cent cel­e­bra­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Day of the Older Per­son, high­light­ing the role of pri­mary care and the con­tri­bu­tion of com­mu­nity health work­ers in keep­ing older peo­ple health­ier for longer.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion also em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of in­te­grat­ing ser­vices for dif­fer­ent con­di­tions.

It said that by the year 2050, 1 in 5 peo­ple in the world will be aged 60 and older.

“It’s our goal to en­sure that all older peo­ple can ob­tain the health ser­vices they need, who­ever they are, wher­ever they live,” says Dr. Te­dros Ad­hanom Ghe­breye­sus, Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral of WHO.

In a lat­est sur­vey of 11 high-in­come coun­tries, up to 41 per­cent of older adults (aged ≥65 years) re­ported care co­or­di­na­tion prob­lems in the past two years.

WHO’s new Guide­lines on In­te­grated Care for Older Peo­ple rec­om­mend ways that com­mu­nity-based ser­vices can help pre­vent, slow or re­verse de­clines in phys­i­cal and men­tal ca­pac­i­ties among older peo­ple.

The guide­lines also re­quire health and so­cial care providers to co­or­di­nate their ser­vices around the needs of older peo­ple through ap­proaches such as com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment and care plans.

“The world’s health sys­tems aren’t ready for older pop­u­la­tions,” says Dr. John Beard, Di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Age­ing and Life course at WHO.

Ev­ery­one at all lev­els of health and so­cial care, from front-line providers through to se­nior lead­ers, has a role to play to help im­prove the health of older peo­ple. The new guide­lines of WHO pro­vide the ev­i­dence for pri­mary care work­ers to put the com­pre­hen­sive needs of older peo­ple, not just the dis­eases they come in to dis­cuss, at the cen­ter of the way they pro­vide care.

Older adults are more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence chronic con­di­tions and of­ten mul­ti­ple con­di­tions at the same time.

Yet to­day’s health sys­tems gen­er­ally fo­cus on the de­tec­tion and treat­ment of in­di­vid­ual acute dis­eases.

“If health sys­tems are to meet the needs of older pop­u­la­tions, they must pro­vide on­go­ing care fo­cused on the is­sues that mat­ter to older peo­ple – chronic pain, and dif­fi­cul­ties with hear­ing, see­ing, walk­ing or per­form­ing daily ac­tiv­i­ties,” Beard added. “This will re­quire much bet­ter in­te­gra­tion be­tween care providers.”

Some coun­tries are al­ready mak­ing smart in­vest­ments guided by WHO’s Global Strat­egy on Age­ing and Health.

Brazil has im­ple­mented com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ments and ex­panded its ser­vices for older adults; Ja­pan has in­te­grated long -term care in­sur­ance to pro­tect peo­ple from the costs of care; Thai­land is strength­en­ing the in­te­gra­tion of health and so­cial care as close as pos­si­ble to where peo­ple live; while the Min­istry of Health in Viet­nam will build on its com­pre­hen­sive health care sys­tem and the large num­ber of el­derly health care clubs to bet­ter meet the needs of older peo­ple in their com­mu­ni­ties.

In­te­grated care can help fos­ter in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth, im­prove health and well­be­ing, and en­sure older peo­ple have the op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute to devel­op­ment, in­stead of be­ing left be­hind. com/ PN)

( jaypeeyap@ ymail.

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