HealthcarePapers 11(1) April 2011 : 62-68.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2011.22255

Integrated Care for the Frail Elderly

George A. Heckman


Chronic disease management initiatives have thus far focused on single disease entities. The challenge of an aging population is the occurrence of multiple diseases, complicated by geriatric syndromes, in the same person. The term frailty is used to denote such persons, who are more vulnerable to poor health outcomes when challenged by a health stressor. In this paper, it is argued that frailty is a chronic condition and thus requires a chronic disease management approach. Hospital-based and community interventions for managing frail seniors are discussed, with a focus on enhancing primary care, and with appropriate and targeted support from geriatric specialists in the form of capacity building as well as direct clinical service. Finally, a model for integrating individual geriatric interventions into a broader system is proposed.



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