The Act on Geriatric Care signed on Monday, September 4, 2023, by Andrzej Duda assumes the launch of 75+ health centers. Check what this term means.
There are approximately 2.7 million people over 75 years of age in Poland. Experts predict that in thirty years this social group will more than double. Therefore, everything should be done to provide seniors with the highest possible level of care. And this “mission” is to be carried out by health centers for 75+, which were “established” by the president in the signed act. The legal act enters into force on January 1, 2024.
Health centers 75+ – what is it?
Health centers 75+ are medical entities where older people will receive the necessary help. The facilities will offer wide-ranging geriatrics services. Seniors will be able to benefit from medical, nursing and rehabilitation services. They will also gain access to professional occupational therapy, dietary and psychological advice, as well as health education. The scope of support provided will be tailored to the individual needs and expectations of a specific patient. Specialists employed in the centers will plan and coordinate individual activities. The facilities will also be responsible for providing seniors with transport and food.
The 75+ health centers will include: consultation clinics, geriatric day care centers, teams of health educators, teams of geriatric care coordinators and geriatric home care teams. It is worth paying special attention to the last of these “components”. It will provide services to patients whose health condition (e.g. disability) does not allow them to stay in inpatient facilities.
Who will be able to use the services of 75+ health centers?
The offer of 75+ health centers is addressed to older people over 75 years of age. However, to get help at a facility, a senior must obtain an appropriate referral. They can be issued by a geriatric specialist, a doctor employed in a geriatric ward, a health insurance doctor or a primary care doctor. Before that, however, a primary care specialist should examine the patient and make a preliminary geriatric assessment based on the VES-13 scale, which takes into account the following “areas”:
age of the elderly person,
patient self-assessment (in terms of health condition),
performing activities that require a certain level of fitness, such as squatting, lifting objects weighing over 4.5 kilograms, moving around, washing windows, dusting furniture, taking a bath, shopping or managing money.
The result of the “test” must be at least 6 points for the senior to be referred to a 75+ health center by a primary care physician. Other specialists authorized to issue this type of documents – before qualifying a given person as a beneficiary – carry out not a preliminary, but a comprehensive geriatric assessment, which is also attached to the referral. You can waive the mentioned form of “diagnostics” if it has been carried out earlier (within 30 days before the date of issuing the referral to the center). Health assessment is the starting point for specialists to develop an individual therapeutic plan for each patient. A senior cannot use the services of a geriatric day care center for longer than 12 weeks.
Where will 75+ health centers be established?
The care provided as part of the 75+ health centers will be financed from public funds. Their location will be determined by the voivodeship plan prepared by the voivode and then approved by the competent minister for health. The area of operation of individual units will cover an area with a total population of not less than 6,000 and not more than 12,000. people over 75 years of age as of December 31 of the previous year.