Posted by: options4care | February 1, 2011

Senior Health Care- Lake County IL- A Holistic Approach

A Holistic Approach to Seniors Health Care

Many health care practitioners who specialize in taking care of the elderly use a holistic approach. An attempt is made not only to treat the specific condition or conditions, but to make sure there are sufficient activity, proper nutrition and family support at home.

Practitioners work closely with family members to make sure their loved ones are taking medications properly and are reporting their symptoms. They require those watching out for the elderly to closely monitor health conditions and report any changes before things get worse. They meet with their patients regularly enough to monitor their health. This broad-based approach results in better health and in fewer visits to the emergency room because intervention for a worsening condition is achieved at an earlier stage.

A good example of this holistic approach is the Veterans Administration Health Care System. The VA system, over the years, has become the nation’s largest geriatric care provider for older men. Almost all veterans are men and because most veterans hearken back to World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War most of them are older than age 60. Because of this the, VA has found it necessary to adapt its health-care to this age group.

VA schedules regular exams at least every six months or yearly depending on available funds and personnel. A health examination typically includes lab work. Screenings for cancer, cardiovascular problems, eye problems, hearing problems and many other conditions common to aging are a routine part of Veteran’s Administration health care.

VA was one of the first health providers in the nation to require its local hospitals to keep their records on computer and in a central database. This allows health practitioners in the system to quickly and efficiently access all information and avoid misdiagnoses and possible drug interactions. By taking a hands-on, preventative approach to the treatment of older men, the system is able to keep its patrons healthier and avoid costly medical interventions due to lack of follow-up.

A significant problem with providing holistic treatment is many health insurance providers, including Medicare, will not pay for routine office visits without an underlying medical complaint. Some private health plans are starting to use so-called “pay for performance” or “outcome based care” where the overall health of the patient takes precedence over the procedures used to get there. But Medicare, up to this point, has not made this change. This makes it extremely difficult for the geriatric health care provider to monitor his patients and intervene before a health problem becomes bad enough to require hospitalization or major surgery. Doctors practicing this type of medicine have to be inventive in order to provide adequate treatment. Family of the elderly can also help in this respect by “finding” medical complaints to justify setting regular appointments with the doctor.

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