By Lee I-chia / Staff Reporter
The National Union of Chinese Physicians’ Associations on Sunday launched an online traditional Chinese medicine card, through which especially elderly people who find it difficult to leave their homes can access home-based services.
The association said the rapid aging of Taiwanese society would have a significant effect on the country’s health care environment.
Taiwan has been classified as an elderly society – people aged 65 or over representing more than 14% of the population – and is expected to become a super-aged society – with that population representing more than 20% by 2025, it said. -he declares. .
The association’s secretary-general, Ko Fu-yang (柯富揚), said the trend will mainly affect the healthcare system in three ways: increased medical expenses, increased risk of drug abuse, and increased risk of hospitalization in the elderly.
People aged 65 or over consult an average of 26.7 times per year for outpatient care, and 37.2% of them have a prescription for at least one drug for a chronic disease, the average number of drug prescriptions per person being 4.59, Ko said, adding that 8.39% of people this age are prescribed 10 or more drugs.
Demographics account for 35.16% of annual national health insurance expenditure, he added.
Because older people are at higher risk for many diseases and take more prescription drugs, they are also at higher risk for accidental drug abuse, Ko said.
People aged 65 or older are hospitalized an average of 0.38 times a year, about three times the average for the rest of the population, Ko said.
Common reasons for hospitalization include cancer, urinary tract infections, cerebrovascular disease and cardiovascular disease, he said, adding that traditional Chinese medicine can help relieve some symptoms of these illnesses.
Traditional Chinese medicine, along with traditional techniques such as acupuncture and naprapathy, can also improve the health of older people with other conditions, including dementia, and reduce their risk of further loss of quality of life and become heavily dependent on caregivers, he said.
A community-based traditional Chinese medicine long-term care network program has since 2019 provided home care services to 1,005 people, especially older people who find it difficult to leave their homes, he said.
Through its new online map at https://cmmap.wezoomtek.com, people can find contact details for nearby traditional Chinese medicine suppliers, the association said.
People who need to be discharged from hospital should ask local health staff or department to help them get in touch with a suitable traditional Chinese medicine provider, he added.
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