Dr. Shabnam Mir, Consultant Physician and Head of Clinical Services, Antara
The rising senior population have unique healthcare demands that put a strain on the existing healthcare systems. With the second wave of COVID, it became abundantly clear that we can’t sit and wait for an unprecedented situation to highlight the gaps in our healthcare infrastructure. There’s a need to reinforce a proper structure when it comes to specific areas of healthcare to cater to the demands of this cohort. One such area that needs attention is step-down care for seniors.
Old age comes with many unpredictable health-related obstacles for seniors. They need specialised care not only during the treatment or surgery but also during the recovery phase, a time when step-down care proves to be crucial. Step-down care is referred to the care provided to patient’s while they transition from a high-intensity care environment like ICUs or in-patient units with medical support back to their home. The objective is recovery, rehabilitation and symptom management of patients. The duration may range from short term to longer-term care. This is mainly required for seniors who are looking for rehabilitative treatment options to recover from cardiac, pulmonary, neurological and orthopaedic conditions.
Moreover, the process of step-down care can be extremely complex for seniors, as their recovery slows with age. This gives a larger window of time for the disease to resurrect which can further deteriorate their health and nullify the effect of treatment in the first place. Additionally, there’s added risk of catching various infections during the rehabilitation phase.
To tackle these complications, it’s crucial to better plan for the recovery phase with a step by step process that includes constant check-ins by various experts such as physicians and physiotherapists in dedicated centres such as Care Homes. Additionally, choosing the right environment is key. For elders, step-down care is not advisable in a home setting as some restoration processes may require specialized equipment that is not available at home. Seniors are recommended to be under the supervision of experts with access to the required support before they can move back to their homes. A committed centre like Care Homes for seniors is the best solution because it provides seniors with surroundings especially tailor-made for their needs. This secures their timely return to normal life without relapsing after showing improvement post-treatment.
Step-down care is becoming increasingly popular as they aid a smooth shift from highly intensive care units back to one’s home. Care Homes provide recovery solutions at a pace that’s suitable to the needs of the patients rather than the bed control policies of hospital administrations. More and more patients and healthcare specialists are now seeing step-down care as an important step towards recovery. There’s a need for doctors to begin incorporating it into rehabilitation programmes and given the demand, it becomes even more important to increase awareness around facilities that provide such care and construct more infrastructure that will supply this aspect of healthcare to the rising population of seniors worldwide.