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Aging Population Essay

3550 words - 15 pages

The Impact of the Aging Population on the Health Workforce in the United States: Summary of Key Findings

March 2006

This study was funded by the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis Bureau of Health Professions Health Resources and Services Administration

Prepared by Center for Health Workforce Studies School of Public Health, University at Albany 7 University Place Rensselaer, NY 12144-3458

Impact of the Aging Population on the Health Workforce in the United States
The expected growth of the older adult population1 in the U.S. over the next 50 years will have an unprecedented impact on the U.S. health care system, especially in terms of supply of and demand for health ...view middle of the document...

The report establishes a baseline of information about the health care workforce that serves older adults and identifies key factors expected to affect the ability of the health care system to meet the future needs of older adults in the U.S. More qualitative issues, including how the health care workforce must prepare and change in order to meet the needs of the next generation of older adults, are also considered. The complete report can be found at the Center’s website, http://chws.albany.edu. Key findings related to this new generation of older adults include: o Older adults will be increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, particularly Asians and Hispanics; o Older adults will be better educated, have greater access to information, and more socioeconomic resources. These demographics may lead to changing patterns of utilization and different demands for health services than those seen in past generations of older adults; o Older adults use more and different health services than younger people; and o The projected demand for health services from older adults is most likely an underestimation of their true need for services, which is influenced by their ability to find or pay for health care services.
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1 For

the purpose of this report, “older adults” are defined as people age 65 and older.

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Key findings related to the health workforce include: o Most health professionals receive limited training on care to older adults; o Many health professions are aging rapidly; o Many health professions lack diversity; o Future shortages of health workers to serve older adults are likely; and o Future demand for health care professionals and paraprofessionals to serve older adults will be affected by: Health insurance reimbursement policies; Emerging technologies; New models of care; and Changes in profession-specific scope of practice. This report is a comprehensive assessment of the broad trends in the health workforce and the aging of the U.S. population. It highlights important areas for policy consideration. This includes issues of potential shortages, lack of diversity in many health professions, need for geriatric training for both generalists and specialists, and better data to monitor supply of, demand for and use of health professionals who serve older adults. The coming demographic changes have the potential to transform the health care delivery system in the U.S. Future research should examine these issues in greater detail to inform planning that assures access to health care for the growing population of older adults.

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Implications of Population Aging for the Health Workforce: Key Findings
1. Greater Numbers of Older Adults • • The population of older adults will grow dramatically over the next 50 years, especially the “oldest old” (those 85 and older). The large numbers of children born between 1946 and 1964 (the baby boom generation) will reach their 65th birthdays between 2011 and 2029. Between 2000 and 2020,...

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