ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Scoping Review

Integration of Health Services for Older Persons in Urban India

This paper presents a review of the available literature on integrated care for older persons in the urban context in India. Our methodology is a systematically conducted scoping review. Our findings present the epidemiological and demographic profiles of older persons in India, the health services available to them, and the policies and programmes that govern these services. Based on our review, we provide an understanding of the gaps in the available literature and offer some policy recommendations.

As the global population ages, the provision of focused health services for older persons has become integral to broader development goals. This is especially so in the case of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that face the demographic challenge of an ageing population caused by increasing life expectancies and low fertility rates. The health and economic burden of chronic diseases among the ageing population further exacerbate these needs, creating new demands on healthcare systems, communities, and families. Older persons1 have complex health needs that necessitate planning integrated care interventions that provide a continuum of care. The World Health Organization (WHO), in the World Report on Ageing and Health (2015), recommends building an age-friendly world and transitioning health systems from curative models to integrated care that is centred on the needs of older persons. The WHO defines integrated care as

health services that are managed and delivered in a way that ensures people receive a continuum of health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, disease management, rehabilitation and palliative care services, at the different levels and sites of care within the health system, and acc­ording to their needs, throughout their whole life. (WHO 2016: 2)

Even in high-income countries, there is a lack of integrated care for older persons, and the situation is even worse in low-income and resource-poor countries that have limited healthcare capacities. Health services for older persons are mostly focused on disease-specific interventions rather than the management of complex needs in an integrated way, which is crucial for maintaining their functional ability and dignity.

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Updated On : 14th Sep, 2021

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