Elder Care : Why Is It Important And How To Get It

Sub-Acute Care And Treatment For The Elderly

sub acute care

Sub Acute Care For Seniors In India

Currently, India enjoys a young population dividend, in the next few decades the ageing population is set to grow to approximately around humongous number of 330 million individuals by 2050. India is at the cusp of experiencing a demographic shift. The growth in the elderly population is causing an increase in life expectancy, improvement in affordability, and a shift in the burden of diseases coupled with a drastic change in the structures of families. These factors primarily drive the need for senior care both in the medical and non-medical contexts.
A strong policy framework, mechanisms for financing of care and an elder welfare ecosystem as an increase in the ageing population comes about. For this, there will be an increase in demand for care and resources. These will be inclusive of both the public and private sectors and can help Indian elders live healthy and enriching life in their silver years.

Why Sub Acute Care For Seniors

The Covid-19 pandemic has made the elderly population vulnerable, not just physically but emotionally as well. The aged population also has weakened immune systems along with the presence of comorbidities, which in turn increase the risk of deaths related to severe covid-19 infection. The pandemic put everyone, including the elderly under living situations very similar to house arrest by encapsulating them within the walls of their homes. It restricted all their movement and social lives outside, which affected their health checkups by halting them or delaying them altogether. In the elderly population, there is a risk for a rise in anxiety, depression, cognitive dysfunction, heart disease, and even mortality under such conditions of social isolation and loneliness.
Also, given how there are barely any government regulations, quality controls or insurance, a need for these is hence, the need of the hour. Our policies and regulations must work towards erecting a solid infrastructure to ensure the provision of proper healthcare and the happiness of the senior population. The evolution of the family system into the nuclearization of families coupled with a rise in life expectancy, economic dependency especially for women, and greater dependency of elders on others for day-to-day assistance are some of the biggest challenges for the elderly population.
There is not enough structured support for seniors to rely on today for support and assistance as they age. With ageing rises fragility which further makes them even more vulnerable and almost forces them to become dependent on their caregivers for every small activity. Due to these, they often suffer neglect, mistreatment, and abuse. In the ecosystem of eldercare today, a very important and largely ignored aspect of care is sub-acute care.

The Difference Between Acute And Sub Acute Care

For caregivers in a family, it’s important to understand and evaluate the available range of options when patients need a higher level of care than can be provided at home. Take a look below some of the differences between acute care, subacute care

  • Acute care is rather immediate and high-level medical care for patients with serious injuries, exacerbation of existing illnesses or urgent medical conditions requiring an intensive level of treatment and observation. Acute care facilities enable to actively address conditions that are either life-threatening or limb-threatening until the patient heals to be treated with lower-level care. The length of stay in this care facility depends on the specific requirements and conditions of the patient. Here, stays are generally of shorter duration, hospitals being an excellent acute care example.
  • Sub acute care takes place after or in place of an acute care facility. It offers the provision of a specialized level of care for medically fragile patients, often with a longer length of stay than acute care. Many acute illnesses or injury patients may need comprehensive care offering frequent assessments of required procedures to manage their condition. People with pulmonary, cardiac, cancer, and conditions that require IV therapy or to be fed through tubes also need subacute care after a stay in the hospital care. Subacute care can include dialysis, chemotherapy, ventilation care, complex wound care, and various other inpatient medical and nursing services.

Types of Sub-Acute Care:

Sub-acute care can be defined and divided into 3 main categories:

  • Physical therapy : Oftentimes, a need arises for addressing physical ailments through gentle and noninvasive methods, such as stretching and muscle relaxing exercises, this is known as physical therapy.

    Surgical procedures and the following prescriptions and medications can be costly and may entail high risks that should be taken into consideration while healing from any injury or illness. Physical therapy treatments for our patients eliminate the need for more expensive, and very dangerous medical options. By working closely with patients, a caring and careful approach to your rehabilitation from physical therapy can help you get back on your feet, both literally and figuratively. It promotes health benefits that benefit patients in both short as well as long run. It primarily consists of:

  • Occupational therapy : When the focus of physical therapy is to encourage ease and comfort during daily activities that a patient must complete, it is known as occupational therapy. This therapy is highly efficient to restore motor coordination as it helps trigger a form of muscle memory in the patient.

    Instead of the requirement for learning a new skill, they just have to relearn their previously mastered skills. With this, it enables easier reconnecting of the body with the mind and gains better control subconsciously. This is especially impactful for the elderly, who can’t withstand undergoing surgery, undergoing strenuous exercises or beginning a whole new medicinal regimen altogether.

There are three major aspects of occupational therapy, they are:

  • Motor coordination
  • Manual dexterity
  • Sensory perception
  • Speech therapy : Another important element of sub acute care that is often involved with all stroke survivors is speech therapy. The speech-language pathologists conduct a few different types of recovery. All of these are connected to the mouth and other related systems. And these eventually improve the patient’s quality of life.

Other than this, there are various other services available under sub-acute care, like:

  1. Palliative care and pain management
  2. Chronic disease management
  3. Memory care management i.e dementia and its forms of degenerative -neuro diseases

Required Changes To Boost Sub-Acute Care

For the reasons discussed above, the Indian healthcare ecosystem needs to integrate sub-acute care into its fold. While some specialised facilities that cater to these needs are coming up in various major metropolitan cities, they enable a change of narrative and mindset that makes sub-acute care natural in India. A lot needs to be done to bring about these changes.

  • Educating the treating physicians : In India, the doctor’s word is the last word and hence, it makes the biggest impact on the change required.
  • Financing options : Insurance companies need to cover at least 60 days post evens care and have policies for ongoing care for debilitating diseases.
  • Capacity building of the workforce with need for the sector
  • Augmenting skilled caregiver numbers, standardizing curriculum, licensing framework
  • Digital literacy and adoption of digital tools
  • Increased acceptance of home-based sub acute care amongst care seekers
  • Increase the number of step-down units i.e inpatient centres for sub-acute care.

How ProTribe Helps?

Sub-acute home care services are the ideal solution for patients who need care but not quite as intensively as in a hospital. When you use this type of care, you can give your loved one the best medical care possible and maintain their independence. Mainstreaming sub-acute is imperative to taking care of the elderly. ProTribe’s elderly care services can go a long way in helping you with:

  • Reducing the burden of diseases
  • Easing out the recurrence of medical events
  • Ease out the pressure on the already strained acute medical system
  • Enable a healthier lifestyle amongst seniors, keeping them as independent as possible
  • Ease out the caregiver’s anxiety while looking after their loved seniors
  • Ease out financial burdens