Whenever someone brings up geriatrics, people either stare or laugh. After all, people think that the field is a joke, and they do not want to touch it with a six-feet pole. However, this general perception leads to a problem, a shortage of professionals who work in the field.
Too Much Effort For Little Reward
Among medical students and residents, very few intend to specialize into geriatrics, which is a subspecialty in medicine concerned with providing care for older patients. Anyone who wants to do so will receive a stare and perhaps a snarky comment. After all, no one wants to take further specialization only to be paid a little higher than a typical primary care doctor. Instead, people prefer cardiology and gastroenterology, with simple procedures, top-tier salaries, and prestige. Geriatrics, on the other hand, is a dull field, at least to the public.
High Demand For Labor But Low Supply
In the current era, humans live longer, at the cost of falling ill to various health conditions. Chronic diseases include arthritis, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and so on. With an increasing population of elderly, there is a higher demand for geriatric health providers. Now, here comes the problem since only a few individuals among many would choose to specialize in geriatrics. Thus, there is the increasing shortage of workers, made worse by the demand by the higher elderly population.
Unlike other physicians who master a single organ system or type of disease, geriatricians tend to deal with at least five up to eight chronic illnesses. Furthermore, the goal of geriatric health care is often symptom management or suppression rather than curing the disease. Also, the elderly have special needs that the younger population lacks. Thus, there is not only an increasing demand for skill and knowledge but also in tolerating a less satisfying work.
Finding Healthcare Providers
Besides geriatricians, there are also healthcare providers for the elderly, namely the caregivers, geriatric nurses and psychologists, pharmacists, and so on. However, the most common service is through caregiving, which is quite a demanding work. If you or someone you know is looking for geriatric healthcare providers, have a look at Pathways Private Duty Home Care and Geriatric Care Management as they provide high-quality services.
Geriatrics is such an underrated field of medicine, yet it is becoming more crucial as time goes on. How will the lack of supply in geriatric health workers meet the increasing demands of the elderly population?