The lack of continuity of care and better accessibility are unmet needs of chronic patients. Interview with the president of the new Spanish Society for the Care of People with Chronic Diseases, Dr. Juan Torres.
“From here comes the need to create the Spanish Society of Care for People with Chronic Illnesses (SEAPEC)able to address the difficult situation of chronicity in Spain, which has been abandoned”, he explains to EFEsalud Juan Torres, also head of the Internal Medicine service at the Infanta Leonor-Virgen de la Torre University Hospital in Madrid.
More than twenty-two million people, nearly half of the Spanish population, suffer from chronic diseases. Pathologies that, however, can be relegated to the background.
The initiative, materialized in a multidisciplinary scientific society, is created by different health and socio-health professionals, together with associations affected by chronic diseases.
Thus, it wants to address the reality of these patients and respond to unmet needs, offering a comprehensive continuity of care that improves the quality of life of people with chronic diseases.
The impact of covid-19 on chronicity
With covid-19, the situation of chronicity in Spain has worsened, distancing these patients from the healthcare system and therefore, making it more difficult to control and favoring hospital admissions, according to the president of SEAPEC.
“Many cases of these patients have been stopped. We have done what we could, but accessibility has worsened”, he points out.
A panorama that, in addition, stages the existing crisis in Primary Care, the basis of the system’s care, as the interviewee points out.
Improve coordination and attention
For Torres, “it is essential that there is coordination between the different professionals who attend to chronic patients to improve their care”.
An attention that is partly due to the tension in the healthcare system, since there is a lot of saturation, accessibility problems and endless waiting lists, he explains to EFESalud.
“We have many admissions and re-admissions of chronic patients who are worse controlled and this worsening of the patient’s accessibility to the healthcare system is conditioning a greater disability,” he underlines.
“United and committed to the chronic patient”
According to the president of SEAPEC, the key to addressing the situation of chronic patients is the union and commitment of all health professionals.
“We all have to change how care is being taken,” he says.
In this way, in addition to fighting to improve patient care, they will be included in the Board of Directors of the new medical society of chronic diseases through associations dedicated to this, which implies a whole new thing.
Among them, participate Ruth Serrano, patient and director general of ACCU SPAINconfederation that brings together thirty associations that represent more than 360,000 Spaniards affected by the inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s i ulcerative colitis.
The president of SEAPEC specifies what they are four lines of action which will carry out:
- Coordination between professionals and continuity of care.
- Prevention to delay the development of chronic pathologiesthrough diet, physical activity and health education.
- Patient adherence to treatment.
- Assistive technologies and tools (digital health and telemedicine).