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How the Aging Population is Shaping Healthcare

Medicare patients make up the largest customer base for the United State’s hospitals and healthcare systems. Currently, there are 50 million seniors (65-years and older) living in the US and this number is projected to reach more than 70 million by 2030. With more senior adults than ever, it is important to understand their impact on healthcare and understand how to support their specific needs.

Here are three ways seniors are shaping healthcare today:

1.) Improving senior care is key to ensuring high value care at a reasonable cost.

People are living longer, thanks to advances in medicine, however, many have complex healthcare needs. This is where palliative care teams can provide an extra layer of support and health expensive readmissions and emergency room visits.

2.) Medical education must change.

It’s no longer enough to solely train doctors to treat inpatient needs. Instead, medical schools must prepare clinicians to “treat” patients both inside and outside the clinical setting, supporting them with the tools and resources necessary to be successful. If education doesn’t change, doctors will be ill-equipped to treat the aging population.

3.) Ineffective communications cause problems.

Problems arise when teams comprised of medical professionals, family members, caregivers and the patient—fail to communicate effectively. This isn’t because of a lack of concern or desire, rather the tools and resources aren’t always in place to facilitate seamless communication.

Supporting partnerships between hospitals and community organizations that provide more support for caregivers and reimbursing patients for tools outside of the healthcare ecosystem will be critical. By working together, the healthcare system can support aging gracefully and living happier, healthier lives.