With chronic ailments on the rise, hospitals are ill-suited to serve.
Over the last century, cause of death in elderly populations has shifted away from acute illnesses, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, to more chronic and degenerative long-term ailments. This means the elderly are living longer (as evidenced by growing elderly populations across the globe).
Given the incredible advancements in modern medicine, this comes as little surprise.
Despite these advancements, we still use the same treatment model we used hundreds of years ago – the hospital. Unfortunately, the traditional hospital system (where patients are taken in for one-time treatment and released) is now ill-suited for treating the majority of the elderly population.
The hospital setting is perfect for treatment of acute diseases. Patients check in, receives a diagnosis, and some fort of treatment is prescribed. But, the shift toward the need for treating longer-term ailments also means a shift toward the need for longer-term care.
Treating the hospital system like a long-term care facility is highly inefficient, both for patients and the hospital workers themselves. It is also prohibitively expensive. Unfortunately, that is not stopping a large part of the population from treating hospitals and emergency rooms as their primary care option. In fact, more than 95% of American health care costs are attributed to chronic diseases, in no small part because patients often don't have any other choice.
The result is a vicious cycle of reactive care, where a patient puts off going to the doctor until the ailment becomes too much to deal with, at which point they spend more money treating its most severe symptoms, all within an environment where risk of infection is far higher than anywhere else.
Instead, the elderly and those that care for them should be looking to shift from a hospital-centered model to a patient-centered model; one that includes alternative forms of care outside of the hospital setting, such as in-home care and preventive care.
Personalized care teams can spot worrying trends and symptoms far before the need for hospitalization, leaving the patient with more options for treatment. In turn, this frees up hospital staff to focus
on what they do best: treat emergencies and acute illnesses.
Finding a personalized or in-home care team has historically been a challenge, but many insurers are realizing that preventive care is not only less expensive for the patient, it is less expensive in the long term for their own policies.
See how Keystone Health can help.
Idaho's leading house call provider since 2013, Keystone Health provides in-home health care and geriatric medicine for home-bound adults with chronic medical conditions: