According to Glen Stream, MD, FAAFP, MBI, a family physician practicing in La Quinta, California, by 2030, a projected 70% of people over 65 will have at least one chronic disease. Serious illness currently places a heavy financial burden on the nation’s health system as well.
In his article in Medical Economics, Doctor Stream notes that two segments of the health care system—palliative care delivered by specialists and primary care—are known to treat these seriously ill people while meeting the “triple aim”: improving the patient’s care experience, improving the health of those with chronic illness, and reducing per capita healthcare costs.
‘The reality, though, is that there is a severe shortage of palliative care specialists and their services are often only available to those in the hospital or in hospice. As the population ages and more Americans begin to suffer from chronic illnesses, the gap between patient need and the availability of palliative care will only widen,” he says.
As a potential solution, Doctor Stream says primary care doctors are in the best position to provide basic palliative care to patients. What they need is proper training in communication skills and pain management. Click here to read the full story.