The healthcare needs of elderly patients are diverse and wide-ranging. With baby-boomers reaching retirement age, and increases in life-expectancy, the population over 65 has been on the rise.
According to the 2010 US Census, the 65+ population is now a larger than, and continuing to grow faster than, the overall population. The US Census Bureau predicts that between 2012 and 2050, the number of Americans over 65 will nearly double from 43.1 million to 83.7 million.
The need for geriatric medical specialists has never been greater. That need will continue to swell. Despite this, the number of practitioners in the field is steadily declining. Few medical students are choosing this field, placing the supply of practitioners, and thus, the health of our elderly loved ones at risk.
According to the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), to meet expected demand, the US will need approximately 30,000 geriatricians by 2030. In 2010, a total of 75 residents in internal or family medicine entered the available geriatric medicine fellowship programs.
Research Senior Care Managers in your area
Though it may be difficult, it’s important to make every possible effort to locate a geriatric specialist in the area of residence of your senior loved ones. They understand better than anyone how illnesses and injuries may affect elderly patients differently than those who are younger, and perhaps less frail.
Geriatric clinics often staff multiple specialists to assist with elder care. These may include MD’s well-versed in healthcare issues relating to seniors, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, social workers, nutritionists, consultant pharmacists, and geropsychiatrists.
A well-assembled team of such specialists is most likely to find elder healthcare solutions that may not be as readily apparent to other, non-specialist medical staffers. It’s not unheard-of for such clinics to staff doctors who have not undertaken specialized study in geriatric medicine. Working with a clinic that does, however, may be the best available option.
If no such clinic exists in your area, you may have to research individual practitioners and assemble a team of your own volition. Online research and making phone calls to doctors’ offices can reveal a lot about their proficiency in delivering care to senior patients.
Locating the best clinic or practitioners in your area may not only make gains in the overall wellness of the senior patient, but the accuracy of diagnosis and prescribed treatments may reduce the need for future interventions as a result.
Senior Concierge Care
It wasn’t all that long ago that doctors routinely visited patients in their homes to deliver necessary care. This makes a lot of sense in the cases of elderly patients whose mobility may be limited, and who may, in fact, put themselves at risk simply by venturing out to an appointment at a doctor’s office.
Health insurance providers are beginning to see the wisdom in this. They have begun offering increased coverage of such home-visits, provided the patient meet certain criteria. To qualify, the patient must experience a high level of difficulty in leaving the residence to visit a doctor at his or her office. Full disability is not the standard here. What is considered is whether transportation logistics or the physical assistance required could be cost-prohibitive or jeopardize the health and safety of the patient.
Health insurance providers are beginning to understand the reduced risk and potential cost-savings of covering in-home visits by doctors. When patients are not burdened by the significant effort and exhaustion of going to a doctor appointment, they are more likely to schedule more frequent appointments. This can help to head off potential major health issues. This burden falls not only on patients’ health and well-being, but also on the cost of treatments and emergency transportation covered by insurers.
Concierge Doctors enjoy greater compensation for operating this way. Their efficiency is decreased in terms of the number of patients they can see, so they are compensated accordingly. Taking the hurry out of the equation can lead to better, more thorough assessments, and greater personal interaction between doctors and patients. This can lead to better health outcomes for patients.
Finding proper geriatric care managers is key to the overall wellness of our senior loved ones. By doing your homework, you can put in place the best possible group of practitioners to deliver the best possible care and keep your elder family members as healthy and comfortable as possible.
For more helpful tips or information contact our Senior Care Management company today!