[The following post is cross-posted to the HealthCare Leader Blog. I’m very honored to be the featured guest on the #HCLDR Tweetchat next Tuesday, May 6, at 5:30p PST (8:30p EST). We’ll be talking about how we might bring more geriatrics health information to older adults & their caregivers, and other aspects of adapting the e-patient approach for an aging population. Hope you can join!]
How can we, as a society, as healthcare providers and as healthcare leaders, provide good care to vulnerable older adults? Consider this person:
- Physiologically vulnerable body and mind
- Multiple chronic conditions
- Chronic physical and cognitive impairments
- Chronic caregiver involvement
- Improve healthcare quality in various ways. This includes reducing errors, better systems of care, better individualizing of care to people’s preferences, etc.
- Increase the number of people trained in geriatrics, both by increasing the number of clinicians specialized in geriatrics, and also by providing geriatrics training to all clinicians who care for adults.
- Adapt the e-patient approach to empower older patients and their families to more actively participate in obtaining better healthcare.
- Access to suitable health education materials. These would be about the geriatric approach to common health and life problems that affect older adults. In other words, we would teach geriatrics to older adults and family caregivers.
- A community of patients and caregivers. This could either be a community of older adults with multiple common problems, or you could have subsections within a popular disease community dedicated to older adults (who are likely to have co-morbidities, and may need to prioritize different things than younger people do). Providing geriatrics-trained moderators might be beneficial, especially in the early years.
- T1: What are the barriers to older adults and family caregivers adopting a more “e-patient” approach?
- T2: How can we foster more online communities where aging adults and/or family caregivers learn practical geriatrics?
- T3: What can we do to bring more attention to geriatric medicine / healthcare for older adults?