WASHINGTON, DC — September 10, 2010 — This Sunday is National Grandparents Day, when we celebrate and honor the contributions of our own grandparents and all grandparents. The Campaign for Better Care is reminding Americans that this day also offers a chance to take action to help ensure that our health care system works better for those who rely on it most. The Campaign is working every day to ensure that health reform is implemented in ways that will improve care coordination, so doctors and other health care providers share information with each other and work in teams, medical records are at our fingertips, and patients and families aren’t left to fend for themselves during the most stressful periods of their lives.
Older Americans are the heaviest users of our health care system, often with the poorest outcomes. Some 78 percent of Americans age 55 and older are dealing with at least one chronic health condition like diabetes, heart disease or arthritis. Older adults with five or more chronic health conditions have an average of 37 doctor visits, see 14 different doctors, and get 50 separate prescriptions each year. Most often, it is left to the patient or a family caregiver to coordinate that care.
"Health reform offers tremendous promise to improve the care that America’s grandparents receive, but only if it is implemented in a way that focuses on the needs of this population," said Campaign for Better Care spokesperson Debra L. Ness, who is president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. "It’s not right that millions of older patients struggle to overcome poor coordination, which harms their health, independence, quality of life and financial security. Grandparents — and all older Americans — deserve better."