India has 112 million elderly people with multiple physical, social and psychological problems with unmet needs in all domains of health. There is a need to highlight the medical and socio-economic problems that are being faced by the elderly people in India, and strategies for bringing an improvement in their quality of life also need to be explored.
Therefore, specialized geriatric care needs attention and development just like any other discipline in the health care sector.
Objective: Determining doctors’ perception of the management of the geriatric people
A total of 145 doctors participated in the survey – General physicians (48%), Physiotherapists (8%), Ayurvedic doctors (5%), Dentists (5%), Diabetologists (5%), Pharmacologists (5%), and Others (24%)
Most of the doctors (48%) stated that geriatric people come to visit them very often
46% of the doctors stated that the quality of life of geriatric people is mostly affected due to physical constraints followed by psychological (28%) and emotional (25%) factors
According to the majority of the doctors (32%), the most common problem faced by the geriatric population is the feeling of being neglected followed by poor access to healthcare (27%), lack of income security (17%) and social isolation (15%)
25% of the doctors stated that hypertension is the most common ailment seen in geriatric people preceding orthopaedic conditions (21%), neurological disorders (18%), and diabetes (17%)
When asked what initiatives should the Indian government introduce to improve the quality of life of the geriatric population, 45% of the doctors stated that they should help in providing preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services, followed by identifying health problems and providing appropriate health interventions (21%), and providing home nursing services (13%)
Our study reveals that the geriatric population is majorly affected by physical constraints and is suffering through common health issues such as hypertension and orthopedic conditions. Doctors believe that elderly people usually face financial issues and have poor access to healthcare. Thus, government initiatives can play a major role in providing effective geriatric care services to improve their quality of life.
As older people tend to have multiple chronic disorders, providing consistent, integrated care called continuity of care, is the need of the hour. Doctors can ensure that the health and social care services provided to the elderly are aligned to achieve the best treatment outcomes.
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