HealthcarePapers 11(1) April 2011 : 46-51.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2011.22252

Why the Elderly Could Bankrupt Canada and How Demographic Imperatives Will Force the Redesign of Acute Care Service Delivery

Samir K. Sinha


Canada's aging population poses a significant challenge for the existing healthcare system. While individuals 65 and older accounted for 13.7% of the population in 2005, they accounted for 60% of all acute care service spending. This paper further illustrates how the heterogeneity of the older population and its impact on patterns of healthcare use demonstrate the failings of our current care systems. Our outdated acute care models frequently disadvantage the system's highest users, who are often characterized by factors such as poly-morbidity, functional impairment and social frailty. Understanding how implementing innovative models that challenge deeply ingrained ways of providing care has proven to be a significant challenge, this paper highlights one hospital's mission to transform current traditional paradigms of care by developing and implementing an elder-friendly hospital integrated service delivery model. This hospital aims to demonstrate wide-ranging benefits of this model that can contribute toward optimizing the outcomes of hospitalization for older adults and the system as a whole. The establishment of a national agency that could support the development of a national aging strategy to promote best practice dissemination and implementation could also ensure that the significant health, social and economic benefits that better care models can realize could be more easily achieved.



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