Chronic Illness in Health Care

ChronicIllness in Health Care

ChronicIllness in Health Care

Althoughpopulation aging has been embraced as a positive indicator of anincrease in life expectancy, it is associated with an increase incases of chronic illnesses. This is because older people are morevulnerable to chronic illnesses than other age groups. This paperwill establish the relationship between chronic illness andpopulation aging, the demand for critical care and nursing educationand suggest an appropriate nursing intervention.


Populationaging is often seen as a positive achievement since it is anindication of an increase in life span. However, older people are ata high risk of suffering from chronic illnesses than the youngpeople. According to Vogeli, Shields, Gibson, Lee, Marder &ampBlunthal (2007) the population of older adults in the U.S. isexpected to increase from 37 million to about 7 million people. Thearticle also indicated that most of these seniors suffer from one ormore chronic medical conditions. Studies indicate that about 28 % ofthe older adults suffer from chronic Alzheimer’s disease, 27 %suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 20 % suffer fromdifferent types of cancer, and 22 % of them suffer from diabetesmellitus (Vogeli etal.,2007). Therefore, there is a direct relationship between chronicillness and chronic illness.


Thelarge number of older adults suffering from chronic diseases hasincreased the demand for critical care. This has become a commontrend and significant challenge in nearly all countries, especiallyin the developed world. According to Balas, Rice, Chaperon, Smith,Disbot &amp Fuchs (2012) more than 50 % of the ICU beds in the U.S.are occupied by seniors aged 65 years and above. The majority ofthese seniors who need critical care suffer from cognitivedysfunction. Although life span has increased in many countries,chronic illness that is directly associated with age cannot beavoided. This suggests that the demand for critical care willcontinue and the number of chronically ill older adults.


Theincrease in demand for older adults who need care for chronicillnesses implies that the number of trained and qualified nursesshould be increased. Nurses are required to allocate more time forpatients who are suffering from chronic illnesses, which has resultedin the shortage of nurses. This means that the number of nursinggraduates or the number of students undertaking nursing education isdisproportionate to the number of older adults who are gettingchronic diseases (Trehearne, Fishman, Lin, 2014). A shortage of thenursing graduates will affect the quality of critical care andpatient outcome in a negative way.


Withan increase in the shortage of qualified nurses and an increase inthe number of clients suffering from chronic illnesses, research hasshown that self-management can be an effective way of helping thechronically ill elders. Self-management involves training thechronically ill patients on how to carry out some activities (such asphysical activities and medication) for themselves (Stellefson,Chaney, Barry, Chavarria, Tennant, Sriram &amp Zagora, 2013). Apartfrom addressing the issue of the shortage of nurses, theself-management approach empowers the chronically ill people, whichin turn fasten their recovery.


Chronicillness is among the current trends in the health care sector. Therate of the prevalence of chronic illness is directly linked with theincrease in the population of senior members of the society. Thelarge number of people suffering from chronic illness has increasedthe demand for critical care and registered nurses. Older adultssuffering from chronic illnesses can be empowered through theself-management strategies.


Balas,C., Rice, M., Chaperon, C., Smith, H., Disbot, M. &amp Fuchs, B.(2012). Management of delirium in critically ill older adults.CriticalCare Nurse,32 (4), 15-26. Doi:

Trehearne,B., Fishman, P., Lin, H. (2014). Role of the nurse in chronic illnessmanagement: Making the medical home more effective. NursingEconomics,32 (4), 178-184.

Stellefson,M., Chaney, B., Barry, A., Chavarria, E., Tennant, B., Sriram, P. &ampZagora, J. (2013). Web 2.0 chronic disease self-management for olderadults: A systematic review. Journalof Medical Internet Research,15 (2), 1-20.

Vogeli,C. Shields, E., Gibson, B., Lee, A., Marder, D., &amp Blunthal, D.(2007). Multiple chronic conditions: Prevalence, health consequences,and implications for quality, care management, and cost. Journalof General Internal Medicine,22 (3), 391-395. Doi: