ELDERLY MEDICAL CHECKUP PROGRAMS IN THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA
Medical programs for the elderly population in Cuba are created by respecting the principles of inclusion and integration, which substantially affects the quality of life and dignity of the elderly population. A high quality of primary healthcare allows the elderly to maintain the normal life within the community producing the positive effects on the level of independence and psychological health within this group. Interestingly, it has been recognized that due to the effectiveness of the primary health care, only 0,5% of the elderly are being hospitalized in Cuba. These data most accurately portray the health benefit and overall health status of the elderly population residing in Cuba.
There is a variety of programs that Cuba offers to the international elderly visitors. Most of these programs are focused on preventative primary and secondary activities tailored with the milestone to achieve a better quality of life of these individuals.
Cuban healthcare providers do not prefer to use the term ‘medical aid’, as it appears too discouraging. They use the expression ‘collaboration’ instead, respecting the basic principles of medical ethics – especially in case of the elderly. Cuba promotes solidarity and tenderness, and this is what each individual will sense when arriving on the island. This is what distinguishes Cuban system from the western, profit-based healthcare entities. Moral and ethics are the fundamental healthcare components, incorporated in each medical program to ensure maximum respect and care for each individual.
The Word Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the quality of elderly care in Cuba, assessing the primary health care (including elderly care) with an ‘impressive’ score. The affordability and accessibility of health care ranks this system to be one of the top health care entities worldwide. Medical programs for the elderly population are listed and explained below.
Comprehensive assessment and evaluation
The initial stages of the program are created with an intention to produce a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation of the overall health condition of the elderly individual. The program is being conducted by the team of expert geriatricians to ensure the maximum quality and accuracy of the assessments performed. Each evaluation begins with initial medical assessment and clinical history, social, functional and psychological evaluation, followed by the ophthalmological and audiological assessments, evaluation of the neuropsychological status and bladder evaluation. Each individual undergoes a set of biochemical analyses including complete blood count, sedimentation rate, blood glucose level, serum urea, and creatinine level, uric acid test, liver function tests, lipid profile, coagulation analyses, serology investigations etc. Within the initial assessment and evaluation, a series of imaging studies such as abdominal ultrasound, bone densitometry, and X-rays are being performed in order to get as much data as possible to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the current health status.
Based on the obtained results, various treatment and rehabilitation options are offered to target the main health issues of the elderly patient. These include nutritional assessment and counseling, ozone therapy, holistic medicine techniques, aerobics, dance therapy, sauna, detoxifying lymphatic drainage, bath therapy with underwater massage, psychotherapy etc.
At the end of the program, each elderly patient receives a final report containing a summary of the current health status, treatment modalities performed as well as the recommendations for future care.
Evaluation with geronto-vitalizing treatment
The initial assessment and evaluation phase of this program is very similar to the above-mentioned program. Once the complete assessment and evaluation are being performed, the patient receives specific treatment focused on ozone therapy sessions, physical therapy sessions, as well as the specific revitalizing treatment with biomoduline T, a natural medication that possesses potent immune-modulatory effects, without causing any adverse effects. At the end of treatment, each individual receives the final report containing the summary of health status, treatments performed and recommendations regarding future care.
Following the evaluation phase, this program offers treatment options targeting primary motor aspects of physical health. Management consists of physical rehabilitation with infrared heat, ultrasound, laser, massage. The program also offers mechanotherapy techniques such as mat and bicycle, as well as the psychomotor rehabilitation.
Functional rehabilitation/Quality of life rehabilitation
This treatment option contains the assessment and evaluation phase that is similar to those previously mentioned. The treatment phase is focused on psychomotor rehabilitation techniques with the bladder rehabilitation using electro-stimulation included in the program.
Care of patients with memory disorders
The evaluation phase of this program is slightly different and includes psychiatric assessment and neuropsychological evaluation. Different investigations, necessary for tailoring the comprehensive treatment plan, include evoked potential studies, clock test, several validated scale assessments (for several types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease), Mini-Mental State Examination, Hamilton Depression scale, and other mainly neuropsychiatric assessments, including brain imaging studies.
The treatment consists of a cognitive rehabilitation program, ozone therapy, and caregivers program aimed to train the caregivers for the future care of the patient.