Health care for older people

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7348.1231 (Published 25 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1231

Scottish report has international relevance

  1. Paula A Rochon (paula.rochon@utoronto.ca), associate professor,
  2. Susan E Bronskill, postdoctoral fellow,
  3. Jerry H Gurwitz, professor
  1. Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Departments of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto ON, Canada M6A 2E1
  2. Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
  3. Meyers Primary Care Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA

    In response to serious concerns about the health care provided to older people in Scotland the Scottish expert group on healthcare of older people, led by the chief medical officer, Dr E M Armstrong, has released an insightful report entitled Adding Life to Years.1 The charge of the group was to describe the major health problems that older people confront, explain their journey through the healthcare system, investigate potential ageism, and promote good practices. The articulate and comprehensive report identifies a series of themes. Four of these are outlined below. Specifically, the report promotes individual responsibility for health, advocates for primary care, identifies the benefits of multidisciplinary teams in the care of elderly people, and discourages ageism. As indicated by the supporting literature, these themes have international relevance.

    Health care is a shared responsibility

    An older adult consulted for the report said: “A doctor can do only so much. We oldies must realise we are responsible for our own health.” Adding Life to Years is to be commended for promoting individual responsibility in health care. Encouraging older adults to be physically and mentally active and to reduce poor health habits is an important theme of …

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