WHO launches app to improve care for older people

Monday, 07 October, 2019

WHO launches app to improve care for older people

In recognition of the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a package of tools, including a digital application, to help health and social workers provide better care for older people.

The world’s population is ageing at a fast pace: by 2050, one in five people will be over 60 and 426 million people will be over 80. While every older person is different, physical and mental capacity tend to decline with increasing age.

The interactive digital application, known as the WHO ICOPE Handbook App, provides practical guidance to address priority conditions including mobility limitations, malnutrition, vision and hearing loss, cognitive decline, depressive symptoms, and social care and support. Used in conjunction with the package of tools, including a new handbook, the app is designed to accelerate training of health and social workers to better address the diverse needs of older people.

“It is essential that services for older people are included in universal healthcare packages,” said Dr Anshu Banerjee, Director of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing at WHO. “At the same time there needs to be good coordination between the health and social services to provide optimal care when needed. The new package of tools supports healthy ageing with a person-centred and coordinated model of care.”

“Such innovation will enable older people to continue doing the things they value and prevent them from social isolation and care dependency,” said Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho, Group Lead on Ageing and Integrated Care at WHO. “Intervening close to where older people live, with active participation of the community and older persons themselves, is essential for a personalised care plan.”

The ICOPE (Integrated Care for Older People) package of tools is the result of two years of extensive consultations with leading experts and stakeholders including civil society representatives. It is available at https://www.who.int/ageing/health-systems/icope/en/.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/David Pereiras

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