Chronic Disease

Chronic Care

European health care systems are caught in an increasingly-challenging situation: more Europeans will require treatment for chronic diseases even as financial and healthcare resources shrink. An estimated 37% of Europeans will be aged 60 or over by 2050. Many will develop chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes mellitus.
In the past, European healthcare systems were organised around acute care, a branch of healthcare in which patients receive active but short-term care for acute illness, severe injury, or an urgent medical condition at its onset. Acute care models make sense when communicable diseases are the primary reason people seek out healthcare. However, today chronic disease rates far outpace communicable diseases, and the majority of patients’ care needs have changed to long-term, chronic care—the exact opposite of acute care. This explains why large-scale change is needed in healthcare systems.
Three essential shifts—prevention and early intervention, citizen empowerment, and a move to in-home care and community based care—form the backbone of the modern chronic care based model needed for European healthcare systems to meet the challenges that lay ahead. And the stakes are high; 86% of all deaths in Europe, approximately four million a year, are related to chronic diseases. Rising rates of chronic disease combined with an ageing population are placing a heavy burden on the EU economic growth.
Sources: United Nations World Population Ageing: 1950-2050 WHO high-level consultation EU White Paper

Download the eu whitepaper