Health systems that meet the needs of older people
As people age, their health needs tend to become more complex with a general trend towards declining capacity and the increased likelihood of having one or more chronic diseases. Health services are often designed to cure acute conditions or symptoms and tend to manage health issues in disconnected and fragmented ways that lack coordination across care providers, settings and time.
Health systems need to be transformed so that they can ensure affordable access to evidence-based medical interventions that respond to the needs of older people and can help prevent care dependency later in life.
What WHO is doing to transform health systems:
WHO has identified three approaches that will better serve the needs of older populations:
- Develop and ensure access to services that provide older-person-centred and integrated care;
- Orient systems around intrinsic capacity;
- Ensure there is a sustainable and appropriately trained health workforce.
To support these approaches WHO:
- develops and shares evidence-based guidance on how to provide integrated care to older populations, especially those in less resourced settings;
- provides technical assistance and support to countries to develop evidence-based policies;
- promotes approaches to improve health workers’ knowledge and competencies on Healthy Ageing.
These actions support efforts to enhance universal health care, address non-communicable diseases, and develop long-term-care systems.