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How can we overcome an ageist healthcare system?

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a geriatrician in Halifax and Researcher with the Canadian Frailty Network says that an ageist attitude is an underlying cause of unsuitable healthcare for older patients.

The complicated conditions of elderly and frail patients clash with the current healthcare system which tends to focus on treating single illnesses.

The key, he says, is a shift in attitude from a single illness approach to treating frail and elderly patients as a whole.

By relying less on subspeciality medicine, and focusing more on expert generalist care, treatment can be improved.

Changing the system won’t just benefit the elderly, claims Dr. Rockwood, it can also be used as a framework for improving care for all patients.

Kenneth Rockwood is a geriatrician in Halifax, Nova Scotia and a researcher with Canadian Frailty Network (CFN), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving care for older Canadians living with frailty.

Interview by Dane Wanniarachige, journalist intern at EvidenceNetwork.ca.

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