eISSN: 2449-8580
ISSN: 1734-3402
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review
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3/2018
vol. 20
 
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abstract:
Review paper

Systemic aspects of securing the health safety of the elderly

Mateusz Paplicki, Robert Susło, Karol Dopierała, Jarosław Drobnik

Fam Med Prim Care Rev 2018; 20(3): 267–270
Online publish date: 2018/09/29
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The rapid aging of Polish society brings increasing stress to bear on both informal and formal support systems. The article aims at discussing the scope of care-related challenges in ageing societies and both current and future status of systemic remedies in Poland. Formal support systems, including social and medical care, are underdeveloped, understaffed, underfinanced, desynchronized, and generally unready to confront the increasing demands of the increasing number of elderly people, who typically suffer from multiple chronic and degenerative diseases that require holistic geriatric care. Such care can only be delivered by teams of specialists that include a physician specializing in geriatrics, a nurse, a physiotherapist, a psychologist, and a social worker. Although demanding and seemingly expensive, this kind of approach actually cuts costs, as it not only improves health outcomes, but also prolongs the duration of functional independency of the elderly, allowing them to function in their home environment, delaying institutionalization, and lessening the pressure on long-term care facilities. As the resources of the formal support systems charged by Polish law with providing health safety to the elderly are scarce, the main burden of care rests, and will continue to rest, on informal caregivers – predominantly family members. Given the deficits of both physicians and of institutions specializing in geriatric care, primary care physicians and their offices are forced to fill the gap, especially for the comparably fit elderly people dwelling in the community. Consequently, family care physicians should include activities to expand their geriatric competences into their continuous professional development schedules.
keywords:

primary health care, geriatrics, health care reform, aged, patient safety

 
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