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Elderly Health Care Needs Improvement, Increase

Submitted by jrlaw on Mar 9th, 2009

While the elderly population grows as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement, the United States needs to focus on increasing the quality of care available to senior citizens in doctors' offices, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and home care treatment programs

According to a Reuters News Story, an Institute of Medicine report showed that 78 million boomers will start hitting the age of 65 by 2011. In response, a panel suggests the following improvements to the federal government and health care profession:

- Require more training for direct-care workers such as nurse's aides, home health aides and personal care aides
- Raise Medicare reimbursement rates for services by geriatric specialists to attract more such professionals
- Expand coursework and training in medical schools and health care training programs in treating the elderly
- Train medical residents in all settings where the elderly receive care, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities
- Increase the federally required minimum number of hours of training for direct-care workers from 75 to at least 120
- Have states allocate funds to be added to Medicaid payments that cover many services provided by direct-care workers

According to the article, 12 percent of the U.S. population is over age 65, but uses 26 percent of doctor visits, 35 percent of hospital stays and 34 percent of medicines.

Nursing Home Abuse is becoming far too prevalent. Add to that the number of medical mistakes that happen each year and it is clear that our health care system needs to be revamped. And as our loved ones age and become more vulnerable, it is extra important to provide means of protection and health care.