Sizable shortage of geriatric physicians, says KCE
According to the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre, Belgium’s elderly are suffering from a shortage of specialised geriatric medical professionals
More training needed
The report evaluated the “intern geriatric liaison teams,” which were established a decade ago. The teams are tasked with caring for the increasing number of elderly patients who cannot be accommodated in the specialised geriatric departments of hospitals – the so-called G beds.
KCE determined that the teams are often too small to handle the workload. “Certainly not all risk patients receive the support of a liaison team,” the report stated. “The professionals confirmed unanimously that the demand for geriatric care greatly exceeds the available human resources and the allocated budget.”
The organisation concluded there is a general shortage of geriatric medical professionals in the country. There should be, it said, about 20 new staff in the sector every year to keep up with demand. Between 2010 and 2013, only 28 new geriatricians were added to the system.
KCE advised more training for the speciality and the establishment of a platform to exchange practical experiences. It also recommended investments that would guarantee that geriatric patients could be treated in other departments of hospitals and even outside the hospitals. Finally, KCE said that more attention should be devoted to the evaluation of the quality of geriatric care.
Photo courtesy UCI UC Irvine
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