Health Centres 75+ as a New Model to Improve Care for Older People in Poland
According to a recent national audit, the cost of treating patients in geriatric wards is 20-30% less compared to those treated in internal medicine wards. Yet, geriatric care remains largely underdeveloped in Poland, with few human, material, and financial resources. Despite numerous attempts to raise the profile of geriatrics over the years, little progress has been achieved. In 2019, experts under the President of Poland proposed the creation of a network of Health Centres 75+ as the first pillar of geriatric care. These are meant to provide ambulatory services for older people and coordinate provision of other health and social care services at the county level. The goal is to create a community model of care, whereby older people would receive needed services close to their place of residence, allowing them to live independently for as long as possible. Although the proposal has been welcomed by the geriatric community and the patients, the acute shortages of human, physical, and financial resources raise concerns about its feasibility. However, the new strategic plans for the health system propose solutions that appear to be supportive of the new proposal, and the Office of the President is discussing joining forces with the Ministry of Health to improve its chances of implementation. Given the increasing pace of population ageing and underdeveloped provision of geriatric services, these efforts are very much needed.