The Elderly Care Delivery System
The resources for elderly care are vast and widely accessible throughout the country.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is arguably the most important resource for the delivery of elderly care, as it serves as the primary point of regulation within the system and provides coverage for over 1/5th of the population.
Geriatric Physicians, Specialized Nurses (Home-Health, Hospice, etc.), Caregivers, Social Workers, and so many more individuals serve as the workforce behind the system.
Maintenance drugs and therapies common to the elderly are widely used.
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, funeral homes, philanthropic organizations, product and device manufacturers, and countless others act as “vehicles” for the delivery of elderly care services.
System Processes (Part One)
The initial process: Turning 65.
Retirement and Enrollment into Medicare
Establishment of a Primary Care Provider with Geriatric Experience
Medicare generally covers these services under Part B, however some Advantage (Part C) plans may provide additional benefits.
Certain recommended procedures and vaccinations may be warranted after the age of 65 to serve as preventative measures, which are also generally covered under Medicare.
Exception: Veterans who have coverage under the Department of Veterans Affairs (Tricare) may not be required to enroll in Medicare to maintain insurance coverage. Health care in this case is provided through the VA.
System Processes (Part Two)
Maintenance of Health and Quality of Life
Disease Prevention (previously mentioned vaccines, osteoporosis, etc.)
Regular PCP visits (increased from pre-65 standards)
Entry into Long-Term Care as needed based on evaluation of physical and mental health needs
Development of a Will
Social Working and Legal aid for those with cognitive deficits
Arrangements for post-mortem services
Utilization of Hospice Services as needed for terminal status
Family counseling and support
Palliative care to maintain comfort
Three Primary Outcomes
Enhance and Maintain Quality of Life
Promotion of Longevity
Prevention of Disease & Age-Specific Illness
A Secondary Outcome
As mentioned, part of elderly care involves familial support. The family may serve as major caregivers for their elderly relatives, making their well-being paramount.
The outcome here is simple: promotion of a prepared, effective support system which may be necessary for future cases as individuals get older.