Developing and Managing Health Systems and Organizations for an Aging Society

Developing and Managing Health Systems and Organizations for an Aging Society

Ana Filipa Ramos, César Fonseca, Adriana Henriques
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9818-3.ch005
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With the worldwide trend towards aging and increasing numbers of chronic diseases, the promotion of self-care as a central issue in public health is a necessity. Recently, several international entities recommend that the nursing profession rethink its focus of intervention and maximize the relevance attributed to fundamental and long-term care. The implementation of fundamental care has been associated with improved of health service security, reduced mortality rate, and hospital readmission. At the same time, for an appropriate response of the health system, it is crucial to know the care needs of people aged 65 and over, which can be met by the analysis of electronic health records.
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The available statistical projections indicate a demographic profile unmatched in history, as a result of the cumulative effect of declining mortality and birth rates over several decades. The aging of the population is a global challenge, which require a better know of the needs of older people, including health care. According to the United Nations Organization (2012), in 2050 the elderly will amount to two billion (20% of the world's population), thus the number of people over 60 will exceed the population of young people under 15 years. Parallel to aging, unhealthy lifestyles have contributed to the prevalence of chronic diseases.

High blood pressure, obesity and diabetes mellitus are also risk factors and increase predisposition to other diseases. Approximately 60% of Europeans aged 75 and over report problems in performing activities due to illness (Murakami & Colombo, 2013). At an older age, there is an increased risk of developing chronic and degenerative diseases, which represent more than 50% of the burden of disease, with profound implications for autonomy, use of health care and services (OECD, 2011, Freitas et al., 2012, Yeh et al., 2014).

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