Thursday, July 08, 2010

We Need More Geriatric Experts

In case you didn't know it already, the population of the United States is graying. Seventy-five million adults will be over 65 by 2030. Yet, we do not have nearly enough professionals working in the field of geriatrics.  The New York Times recently noted that "of 3.1 million registered nurses nationwide, 11,000 are certified in geriatrics." And relatively small portion of funding from the National Institute of Health is going toward geriatric health research.

If we're going to have successful caring for our aging population, we'll need more doctors and nurses who know a lot about the older brain and body. Lack of understanding has led to too many patients on Medicare to be readmitted to hospitals within 30 days after discharge. Falling, drug interactions, drug mistakes and other problems all contribute to preventable health care issues for the elderly. But nurses who are trained to follow up with patients can help by calling them.

Some hospitals have adopted a program called "Niche" (Nurses Improving Care for the Healthsystem Elders) to do just this and more. Read more at: http://www.princetonhcs.org/page5738.aspx

Universities and hospitals are taking action, but it's slow in coming. Become informed about this important health issue. Take some action. Make a difference. We are all aging...

Read more:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/health/29geri.html

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