The care of all patients, especially the elderly who are often suffering from unremitting illnesses require constant treatment and unalleviated supervision which places increasing pressures on public and private health systems. According to recent research conducted the by the University of Rovira i Virgilli, in Spain, older people now account for a high percentage of hospitalisations in developed countries. With the world experiencing the global phenomenon of increasing lifespans, reducing fertility and structural population changes, this trend of elderly hospitalisation is set to continue and gain momentum into the future.
However, it is now widely accepted that hospitalisation and institutionalisation is not the best method for recovery for all concerned. People who are suffering from illnesses have an emotive bond with their homes and the community that they are a integral part of and this is often a key factor in both the rates of positive patient outcomes, as well as the satisfaction and quality of life for the patient. Additionally, it is noted that although many would prefer to receive medical treatment and care in their home environment, many are still being hospitalised. This is not because of their medical conditions or methods of treatment demands, but the lack of social and family support at home, as well as the result of difficult continuous access to specialist healthcare.
Already, families are taking leading roles pertaining to the care of dependent relatives. At present, the care of chronically ill and older people at home would be near impossible without family care. However, increasing pressures on all family members to work, with the increasing pressures of time, money and added responsibilities are threatening the family’s ability to provide support to their loved ones.
Home care services have been identified as a key method in addressing these issues. From the point of the healthcare organisation, providing more home care services reduces the pressures placed on public facilities and staffing, contributes to increasing numbers of positive patient outcomes and provides access to general and specialist treatments to those who are struggling with the transportation to and from medical facilities. From the patient’s point of view, they are able to remain in the family home, with the emotive and social support networks of their family, friends and community.
The trends for a worldwide aging population show no signs of changing. Therefore, the ever growing numbers of older people requiring medical attention will also rise. A movement to home care services is a natural response to this situation, which benefits all of the parties involved.
The future of employment in home care services is not only set to expand, but to diversify in the skills needed and the challenges faced. As more and more services, that were once in the realm of hospitals, become available in the private home setting, the more interdisciplinary the home care health professional will have to become, integrating the medical, social and family resources aimed at achieving the same goals…good health
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