The WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre) is a research arm of the World Health Organization based in Kobe, Japan, and has a global mandate to conduct research into the health consequences of social, economic, environmental and technological change and their implications for health policies. Rapid population ageing is undeniably exerting new pressures on existing health systems. To be effective, health systems, in considering the welfare needs of older persons and the social services for them, must respond in timely and creative ways to this global phenomenon and its health and socioeconomic impacts.
Today, providing adequate and cost-effective care for the growing number of older persons, their families and community involves and requires multisectoral and interdisciplinary integration and cooperation. But it poses challenges as well. While, on one hand, the heterogeneity of the ageing and older population’s health status and welfare needs differ according to their cultural and socioeconomic settings, on the other, there is a lack of well-defined, standardized definitions and terminology for evaluation of diversified effective models.
This obstacle to cross-sectional dialogue and exchange of ideas and views is affecting policy formulation, research and education, as well as budgetary allocation to implement and deliver comprehensive and integrated services in a coherent manner. In recent years, the pressing need for standardization of terminology in community health care for older persons has received increased attention from local and national governments, international agencies, NGOs, the scientific and service communities and the general public.
In response to this need, the Ageing and Health Programme of the WHO Kobe Centre, in collaboration with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Population Ageing: Research, Education and Policy in Adelaide, Australia, initiated a project to develop an international glossary of terms applying to community health care and services for older persons through consultation with global experts, both via the Internet and in face-to-face meetings. This publication aims to define and standardize the basic concepts and functions of community health care for older persons and organize them into a glossary, utilizing existing WHO definitions where appropriate, to promote a common language for cross-programme description and information dissemination. This glossary is the first step towards the pursuit of further collaboration in …
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