As people live longer and develop costly chronic ailments, the world’s health systems will face a formidable challenge of providing and delivering sufficient, effective care to and for this group. Home health for the elderly proves to be an efficient type of care that produces quality outcomes for aging individuals.
Middle to high-income countries are facing the same battle—how to produce positive health outcomes and improve healthcare efficiency for the aging population.
The WHO and Health Systems Goals
The World Health Organization released a report titled A WHO Framework for Health System Performance Assessment in which it clearly defined what health systems’ goals should be: quality outcome), equity and access, and fair financing and financial risk protection (“A WHO Framework For Health System Performance Assessment” 2000). The composite goals achieve efficiency, which is synonymous to affordability and cost containment (“A WHO Framework For Health System Performance Assessment” 2000).
Financial Risk Protection and the Elderly
Health systems in middle to high income countries such as the United States, Germany, Thailand, etc. have social and financial risk protections in place to protect people from extraordinary health expenditures. The U.S. Medicare program is an excellent example of social and financial risk protection. Lawmakers designed this risk pool for the high-cost elderly population, which covers typically 97% of older U.S. citizens (“Medicare 2000: 35 Years Of Improving Americans’ Health And Security” 2000).
Quality Outcomes and Improved Efficiency Preserve Financial Risk Protections
Keeping the Elderly Healthy and Containing Costs through Home Health
Now that most health systems have protection for the elderly in place, the two objectives are to effectively manage the risk pool funds (improved efficiency) and produce positive health outcomes.
Elderly individuals experience failures within their bodies as well as loss of morale. Producing positive health outcomes and containing costs for this high risk group are challenges as they are more prone to medical procedures and stressful hospital stays. There are various examples, though, of countries implementing home health strategies to achieve those two goals.
Home Health in France
France developed the initiative to further home health for its elderly citizens. The hospitalisation à domicile—or HAD—is an extension of the public hospital system. (Their form of social security reimburses the program.) The mission of HAD is to “receive the equivalent of hospital care” (“Care Of Elderly And Geriatric Patients In EU Countries” 2021) in the home. The French view it as the “ideal option for the elderly, especially those with chronic illness, to receive medical and paramedical services without the trauma of hospitalisation” (“Care Of Elderly And Geriatric Patients In EU Countries” 2021).
Home Health in Japan
Japan has the oldest population in the world. Japan introduced Long Term Care Insurance (LCTI) in 2000 to provide home-delivered social care to those over 65 (“Social Care Japanese Style – What We Can Learn From The World’s Oldest Population” 2018). Citizens must apply to the program and take a test to determine the level of care and kind of care they need. A care manager will create custom plans to accommodate social care needs (“Social Care Japanese Style – What We Can Learn From The World’s Oldest Population” 2018).
This comprehensive social care support scheme aims to reduce the burden of care for families. The connection to cost-effective community based resources keeps this population healthy, stimulated, and out of long term care institutions and hospitals. In 2016, the 65+ Japanese population was 26.5% of the population compared to just 18.4% in the UK (“Social Care Japanese Style – What We Can Learn From The World’s Oldest Population” 2018).
Home Health in the United States
The United States’ health system utilizes home health—especially for the elderly. Medicare describes home health as “a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury” (“What’s Home Health Care?” 2021). Social workers are part of an interdisciplinary team in home health to determine individuals’ overall needs including social care.
Administrators of Medicare state home health care is less expensive, more convenient, and comparable to the level of quality care delivered in an institution such as a skilled nursing facility (“What’s Home Health Care?” 2021). Home health can provide wound care, social care, intravenous therapy, injections, and management of serious illnesses (“What’s Home Health Care?” 2021).
To learn more about home health services, read more about what SSRx can do for your loved ones or patients.
“A WHO Framework For Health System Performance Assessment”. 2000. Geneva: World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/healthinfo/paper06.pdf.
“Care Of Elderly And Geriatric Patients In EU Countries”. 2021. Healthcare In Europe. https://healthcare-in-europe.com/en/news/care-of-elderly-geriatric-patients-in-eu-countries.html.
“Medicare 2000: 35 Years Of Improving Americans’ Health And Security”. 2000. Washington D.C.: Health Care Financing Administration.
“What’s Home Health Care?”. 2021. Medicare.Gov. https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/whats-home-health-care.