Which one is a better deal – home visits or phone calls?

Frances Wong is a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. telemed

Our recent research has revealed very interesting findings about the power of a telephone call as compared to home visits for post-discharged patients. Patients are discharged from the hospital as soon as the immediate problems are resolved. Some care issues only emerge when the patients return home. The issues usually involve patients’ confidence and ability for self-care, symptom management, adherence to medication regimen and so on. If these concerns are not addressed properly, the patients will present themselves to the hospitals again. Like a revolving door syndrome, patients returning to the community come back to the hospital within a short time. The mean readmission rate within 28 days after discharge is 15% and the rate can escalate to 35% for the chronically ill patients.  Continue reading

The social and economic contribution of our elders

A conference report from the BGS Spring Meeting in Belfast, by Liz Gill.

Another look at the future came from Claire Keating, commissioner for older people in Northern Ireland. “Shed loads of people are having increased longevity and that is a challenge but no-one becomes 80 overnight so it’s a case of planning. And current projections are not set in stone. For instance, we need to treat older people who have bowel cancer now but we also need to get their grandchildren to eat more vegetables so that there aren’t unacceptable levels when they get to that age.

“We get obsessed with money and the pessimistic outlook gets more attention. Yet the latest research shows that when you add up all economic and social contributions and all the taxes and voluntary work, older people make a net contribution to society of £40bn. Continue reading

The Relationship Between Wealth and Frailty

Prof Kenneth Rockwood is Director of Geriatric Medicine Research at Dalhousie University, Canada and serves on the International Advisory Panel of Age and Ageing journal.

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It’s never good to be frail, but it’s worse to be frail and poor, or to be frail in a tough environment. That would be one conclusion from a recent analysis of data from middle-aged and older adults in the Study of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). This analysis (by our group) showed that the number of health problems people have (the mean deficit count in a frailty index) was strongly and negatively correlated with national wealth (measured by Gross Domestic Product – GDP). In fact, for the 15 countries evaluated, per capita GDP “explained” about 60% of the variance in the national level of frailty. Continue reading