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Home care has role in patient-centric care

Home care is a sustainable way to deliver healthcare that provides patients with a better quality of life, panellists told a Friends of Europe Café Crossfire lunch debate on Wednesday 3 May.

The debate came as the cost pressures of healthcare rise due to Europe’s ageing population and the increase in chronic conditions. In particular, long-term care for older people alone is projected to cost an additional one per cent of GDP in the coming decades.

Part of the problem is that current healthcare systems were designed to address acute needs, with the hospital as the focal point. But home care could lower costs for healthcare systems, and also form part of a more patient-centric model.

“It implies a change in the mindset of everybody – that we start doing things in a different way,” said Santiago Delgado, Vice-President of the Ribera Salud Group that developed the ‘Alzira Model’, a world-renowned model of vertical integration that provides incentives for out-of-hospital care in Valencia, Spain.

“A hospital is not a place to stay in, but a place to do things. If you understand what your citizens need, you will be able to tailor solutions, and you will have the impression that being in hospital longer than necessary is not good. You will come to the conclusion that it is better to be at home.”

There are already many ways to provide healthcare more effectively and sustainably. Technology can offer patients with long-term conditions the possibility of receiving quality healthcare in their own homes from clinicians who monitor their health status remotely, track progress and optimise treatments. But such approaches have not yet become mainstream. That’s why it is important to rethink healthcare with the patient at the centre.

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