To adapt to the health-care system challenges that arise with a rapidly ageing global population, patient-oriented practices need to be utilized. An article in Reuters Health discusses the importance of coordination between physicians when working with older people who have multiple chronic conditions and it quotes Dr Monika Kastner, University of Toronto, describing care coordination as the “efforts by health care professionals to facilitate and coordinate appropriate, timely and efficient delivery of health care services for a patient,” shifting the focus from targeting one disease at a time, to holistic treatment of an individual. Interested in this topic? Consider reaching out to IFA Expert Prof Roberto Bernabei, Director of the Department of Geriatrics and Rehabilitative Medicine at the A. Gemelli University Hospital in Italy, who specializes in improving models of health services for the care of older people.
Fragmented care impacts all older people. With more than 62% of older people living in the United States diagnosed with multiple conditions, many receive care from multiple medical specialists who do not communicate with one another. For those patients diagnosed with both a chronic physical condition such a diabetes, as well as depression, substantial improvements to both conditions were noted when they received coordinated care. Dr Fiona Aspinal, York University, United Kingdom, can be contacted through the Expert Centre for questions about the integration of services for service users with long-term conditions and complex needs.
Despite this growing need, there is presently no framework that illustrates to health care providers specifically how to implement integrated or coordinated care mechanisms within current systems. However, IFA Expert and World Health Organization Director, Life Course and Ageing, Dr John Beard is working with his department to develop the Integrated Care for Older People – ICOPE Programme to fill this gap. Until improvements are made, Dr Alicia Arbaje, John Hopkins University believes that changes to physician culture and increased public advocacy could help patients have access to more coordinated care.
Dr. John Beard Director of Ageing and Life Course
Dr John Beard, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., is Director of Ageing and Life Course with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva
Dr. Fiona Aspinal Research Fellow
Fiona Aspinal is a research fellow at York University, United Kingdom
Prof. Roberto Bernabei Professor of Internal Medicine
Main research interests are in geriatric assessment, models of health services for elderly care, and geriatric pharmacoepidemiology