Empowerment of healthy ageing through integrated care managers in China
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Pinetree Care Group, Chaoyang District, China
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A23
With over 200 million people over the age of 65 by the end of 2021 and around 50 million being care dependent, China faces the enormous challenge of reforming the system and strengthening primary health care to meet the needs of older adults, aiming for better prevention and reduction of care dependency as part of the nation’s healthy ageing strategies. While people-centered integrated care (PCIC) has been set as the key model for improving the health and care systems in coming decades, World Health Organization’s ICOPE (integrated care for older people) is being implemented first in Beijing, then in a multi-center pilot across China. Health and social care workers went through modular training sessions before becoming “integrated care managers” to carry out screening, assessment and care plans in primary care settings following the ICOPE care pathways that are adapted to fit locally available resources. Incentives are designed for them to receive additional income and recognition from delivering personalized care plans. Despite their heavy duty of pandemic control-related tasks, primary health care workers reported high levels of satisfaction and interest in continuing as the front-line providers of integrated care, supported by multi-disciplinary teams from hospitals, nursing care and higher education institutions. Coordinated teams leveraged tele-care tools to empower each other when working against the risks of intrinsic capacity decline and functional ability loss among community and home-dwelling older adults. The ICOPE implementation pilot in China might provide some reference for feasibility and impact of integrated care on the health and social well-being of the ageing population in low resource settings. Advocating a policy shift from disease-oriented approach to one that promotes holistic care continuum often demands locally relevant and applicable innovations.
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