This article covers a sample of policy brief on chronic diseases.
Sample of policy brief on chronic diseases
Chronic diseases are physical or mental conditions lasting for a period of at least one year, and they require continuous medical intervention and modification of one’s lifestyle (CDC, 2018). Some of the most chronic diseases in the United States include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer. Chronic diseases impart considerable economic and social burden to an individual and the country at large. In United States, chronic diseases are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity. Additionally, management of the chronic diseases takes up the largest healthcare budgetary allocation of $2.7 trillion in healthcare cost yearly (CDC, 2018).(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
Chronic diseases affect all demographic groups in the country. However, the elderly population is the most affected. Studies indicate chronic diseases as the leading cause of death among the older population (CDC, 2018). It is estimated that by 2030, the older population aged 65 year and above will be over 71 million (Christ & Sadhna, 2013). The impacts of the chronic diseases prevalence in the United States is exacerbated by the increasing proportion of the aging population. In 2015, the population of older population was estimated at 46 million (Mather, Jacobsen, & Pollard, 2015). Epidemiological studies in the United States indicate that 80% of the older adults in the United States have at least one chronic condition. Additionally, it is estimated that about 68% of the older population have at least two chronic conditions in the country (CDC, 2018; Anderson, 2013).(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
The most common chronic conditions affecting the older population in the country are hypertension, diabetes and arthritis. Apart from causing death among the older population, chronic diseases have considerable effects on their health and wellbeing. The diseases increase dependence of the older people because they undermine their ability to undertake normal daily activities and self-care. Moreover, chronic diseases reduce the quality of life among the affected population. Studies associate chronic disorders with other adverse health outcomes, such as undermining the mental health of the individuals (Zhao, Wong, Zhu & Yang, 2018).(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
To address the high prevalence of chronic disorders among the older population, it is recommended that the accessibility of healthcare services to the older population be enhanced. Accessibility to healthcare services can be enhanced by lowering the cost of healthcare and ensuring that older population has health insurance cover. Secondly, preventive and health promotion programs should be implemented from local community to national level. Empirical studies indicate that health promotion early in life prevents the occurrence of chronic disorders in adulthood and in old age (Anderson, 2013; Christ & Sadhna, 2013). Some of the approaches of promoting health include health education, enhancing physical activity and life style modification. Additionally, increasing access to healthy food is also an important health promotion strategy of addressing the issue of chronic diseases in the older population.(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
The key stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of the solutions highlighted include healthcare professionals, government officials and community leaders. Addressing the issue of chronic diseases is a collaborative and multidisciplinary undertaking requiring the involvement of various medical professionals, including registered nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other specialists. The healthcare professionals would be involved in providing primary care services, such as educating the vulnerable population, treating and management of the chronic conditions and ensuring continuation of care across different settings and transitions. Additionally, healthcare professionals would be involved in formulation and implementation of appropriate healthcare policies to promote delivery of care to the older population in the country.(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
Other roles of healthcare professionals include educating the older population on the available healthcare initiatives to promote health, such as expansion of Medicaid and the importance of enrollment. The role of government officials including elected leaders includes legislation and implementation of policies aimed at increasing accessibility of care to the older population and health promotion initiatives. Additionally, community leaders would play a major role in mobilizing the community to enroll and participate in various programs aimed at addressing the issue of chronic disorders in the population at the local level.(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
Medicaid program is one of the federal government’s initiatives aimed at increasing accessibility to healthcare by lowering the cost, especially to vulnerable population. However, different states in the country have varied stance on expansion of Medicaid. Some of the states in the country have allowed expansion of Medicaid to cover healthcare cost for vulnerable individuals while others have not. To increase the accessibility of healthcare services to older population with chronic conditions, it is important to consider individual state approval of Medicaid expansion.(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
Impact on the Healthcare Delivery System
Increasing accessibility of healthcare services to older population with chronic conditions will have considerable impacts on the healthcare delivery system. First, it will increase the demand for healthcare services. This will result to increased workload for the available healthcare professionals providing primary care services. Secondly, it will exacerbate the shortage of nurse and primary care providers in the healthcare system. However, the policy would create opportunities for nurse practitioners to provide primary care services in the healthcare system.(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
Anderson, G. (2013). Medicare and chronic conditions. New England Journal of Medicine, 353(3), 305‐309.(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
CDC (2018). About chronic diseases. Accessed from https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm
Christ, G., & Sadhna , D.(2013). Chronic illness and aging. New York: Council on Social Work Education. Accessed from https://www.cswe.org/getattachment/Centers-Initiatives/Gero-Ed-Center/Initiatives/Past-Programs/MAC-Project/Resource-Reviews/Health/CI-Sec1-Demographics.pdf.aspx(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)
Mather, M., Jacobsen, L., & Pollard, K.(2015). Population Bulletin. Population Reference Bureau, 7(2):1-23.
Zhao C, Wong L, Zhu Q, Yang H (2018) Prevalence and correlates of chronic diseases in an elderly population: A community-based survey in Haikou. PLoS ONE 13(6): e0199006. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199006(Policy Brief on Chronic Diseases)