Researchers at the VU University Medical Center recently studied the effects of multidisciplinary integrated care for 340 elderly individuals who were living in residential care facilities in the Netherlands. The study found that more than 70 percent of participants need assistance with daily tasks, housekeeping and and healthcare. Many of these individuals are disabled and suffering from multiple chronic diseases.
"By adapting the principles of disease management, we introduced the concept of multidisciplinary integrated care," said Dr. Hein van Hout, one of the researchers. "This concept focuses on identification and monitoring of the functional disabilities caused by chronic diseases."
Individuals who received care from physicians, nurses, psychologists and geriatricians reported an improved quality of life. More focused care for seniors can be applied to those who are living independently, and senior alert systems can provide an added security that help can be reached in case of a medical emergency at a moment's notice.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in three people over the age of 65 fall every year. In addition to medical alert systems, family members and caregivers can improve home safety for seniors by making sure that pathways are well-lit and free of obstructions that could cause falls, the American Academy of Family Physicians states.