The model ‘Urgency in geriatric health care networks’ aims to stimulate integrated and person-oriented care and support for older people. It helps care organisations make a shift towards more proactive care, thus reducing the need to move vulnerable, elderly people unnecessarily.
Researcher Monique Spierenburg: ‘If more attention is being paid to support in the preliminary phase, health care professionals can see a crisis coming and possibly prevent it. It is therefore important to adopt a more inclusive approach by mapping not only medical, but also social and psychological aspects and to ask what the older person wants.’
New solutions are necessary
This inclusive approach is important, because growing older is often accompanied by an increase in physical, psychological and social discomfort. Due to ageing, more and more people are dealing with this challenge. In combination with rising healthcare costs and labour shortages, it is becoming increasingly necessary to come up with new solutions. For example, it is important that care is organised closer to the frail, older person and his loved ones. In the Netherlands, the urgency for change is even bigger in emergency situations that involve vulnerable, older people.
Also suitable for other countries
For instance, we see an increase of older people at first aid and out-of-hours services. Too many patients use these facilities without an actual medical urgency. The model ‘Urgency in geriatric health care networks’ (based on Kings Fund ©2014) helps to prevent this by stimulating care organisations to move towards more proactive and preventive care. It is suitable for professionals, managers and administrators working with and for (vulnerable) older people; before, during and after emergency situations. The model is based on examples from literature and interviews with professionals and experts in emergency and geriatric care in the Netherlands. Because it is based on effective principles it is detached from specific situations, enabling to be applied in other circumstances. This also makes it suitable for professionals in other countries.
A model as starting point for a conversation
The model ‘Urgency in the elderly care’ distinguishes nine steps in the ‘patient journey’. We have identified the working principles for each step. You can use the model to discuss the different steps with your colleagues. This works best if you approach it in a multidisciplinary manner. For example, discuss what each person’s role is and how everyone can contribute to more integrated and person-oriented care and support for older persons. Preferably involve older people and their informal caregivers in the conversation.
The model can also be used with the network partners. For example, with professionals from the hospital, rehabilitation, mental health care, health centre, district nursing, social and welfare, volunteers and the neighbourhood team. Involve also older people, informal caregivers, executive professionals, managers, and policy officers in the conversation.