NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Health System Fails Seniors Half the Time

November 4, 2003

Older Americans with health problems get the recommended medical care they need only half the time, and the problem is worse for treatment of age-related illnesses, says a study by RAND Health.

A previous study by the same group said that doctors provided the appropriate health care to adults of all ages only half of the time.

The latest study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests seniors are no different:

  • The report found that seniors got the recommended care for general medical conditions like heart disease just 52 percent of the time.
  • The record was worse for age-related diseases such as dementia or malnutrition; the study found seniors got the appropriate care for these conditions just 31 percent of the time.

This study's findings suggest doctors and other health care providers may overlook some common problems of old age -- a lapse that can lead to multiple health issues.

Source: Kathleen Fackelman, "Health System Fails Seniors Half the Time: Care for Elderly Ailment Ignored," USA Today, November 4, 2003.

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