Abstract for: Serving the Long-term Care Needs of an Aging Population

A direct consequence of the aging global population is a substantial increase in demand for long-term care (LTC) services. Keeping pace with this rising demand poses a key challenge for health systems and policy-makers. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of growing elderly population on the demand for care and for health-care professionals in the acute and long-term sectors under different policy scenarios, using a simplified, aggregate, policy-oriented System Dynamics model. Results indicate that inadequate supply of long-term care tends to shift service demands to acute care and increases total care needs. This suggests that if policy-makers place more emphasis on demand at acute care venues and less on long-term care of chronic conditions, they are likely to over-build acute care facilities and fill them with patients with long-term care needs.