203292 Demographic dynamics impacting the physician and nursing shortage predicted to to provide care for US seniors: General solutions and urban-rural disparities

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:15 AM

Steven A. Cohen, DrPH, MPH , Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts School of Medicine, Boston, MA
This review highlights several of the key demographic, infrastructural, and cultural factors associated with the growing labor force shortage in the health care field. Population dynamics play a significant role in exacerbating the health care labor force shortage. These factors work to simultaneously increase the size and proportion of the population needing the most care, namely seniors, and also reduce the availability of physicians and nurses to provide adequate care for this growing population subgroup. Physicians and nurses have expressed consistent dissatisfaction with health care infrastructure and have cited decreased job satisfaction, further contributing to the shortage. A key finding of this analysis is that the healthcare labor shortage is most severe in rural areas. Some potential solutions to the shortage include increased medical and nursing training in geriatrics and gerontology to increase interest, competency, and knowledge of health issues specifically pertaining to the elderly. Other solutions include monetary incentives for geriatric training for nurses and physicians. This paper evaluates several medium-scale solutions to this growing problem, and emphasizes the need to act soon so as to protect the health of this vulnerable population, especially those seniors in the rural US.

Learning Objectives:
1. List at least 2 critical demographic and infrastructural factors contributing to the nurse and physician shortage to care for US seniors. 2. Describe potential solutions to the growing health care labor shortage in the short- and long-term. 3. Discuss sociodemographic disparities in the supply of physician and nursing professionals to provide care for seniors.

Keywords: Medical Care, Elderly

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have performed all analysis and literature review for this review paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.