The increase in chronic diseases is a serious public health issue.
Since 2008, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has encouraged the development of effective measures to counter the problem(1,2). The very reason for the existence of the home healthcare activity is to enable patients to receive treatment while continuing to live at home.
Air Liquide Healthcare is the European leader in this sector, facilitating treatment for patients at home and so giving one million people suffering from chronic diseases the opportunity to live independently in their own home whilst still benefitting from specialised medical treatment at a lower cost.
The world is currently facing a sharp increase in chronic diseases(1,2) such as chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.
Currently responsible for 63 per cent of deaths, these long-term conditions are the primary cause of death worldwide and take up a significant proportion of healthcare needs and expenditure (more than 75 per cent of healthcare costs are due to chronic conditions) (3).
Given the evolving epidemiology, investment in better care for patients with chronic diseases will make it possible to improve their quality of life whilst also helping to control costs.
Air Liquide is specialised in medical gases and has been the European forerunner for over 30 years in providing medical oxygen to patients with chronic respiratory failure who have been discharged from hospital to return home.
Air Liquide Healthcare is involved from the time of discharge, caring for patients at home whose treatment requires the use of medical respiratory assistance, infusion, or nutritional assistance equipment. It also implements personalised follow-up that improves the therapeutic efficacy of treatments.
From the time of the initial prescription, Air Liquide Healthcare's multidisciplinary teams act to support the patient and provide the required equipment prescribed by the doctor. They train the patient and his or her family and companions in the proper use of the treatment and act as a link between the various healthcare professionals involved with the patient throughout treatment.
For example in 2012, Air Liquide Healthcare made over three million home visits for respiratory diseases alone.
Currently, over one million patients worldwide, along with the healthcare professionals treating them, are putting their trust in Air Liquide Healthcare.
With over 30 years of experience of working in home healthcare, Air Liquide Healthcare has the necessary experience and expertise to guarantee high quality treatment for these patients. Its qualified medical teams are made up of pharmacists, nurses, nutritionists and technical advisors, who all have in depth knowledge of both the various diseases and their treatments.
In total, of the 10,000 staff working at Air Liquide Healthcare, 7000 men and women work directly for the well being and treatment of patients in their homes. The teams undergo continuous training in the latest technology available for use in the home, and all staff members are highly proficient in all health and safety and traceability procedures.
Adherence to treatment is a major issue in improving measures to combat chronic disease. In developed countries, adherence to long term therapies in the general population is only 50 per cent(4).
Thanks to its experience and ability to innovate, Air Liquide Healthcare is developing and offering monitoring tools and solutions that encourage compliance, involving the patient in making the management of his or her illness increasingly efficient.
"Our objective is to increase patients' autonomy and improve their quality of life, while ensuring that the treatment is adhered to," Pascal Vinet, Vice President Healthcare Global Operations and member of the Executive Committee of the Air Liquide Group, said.
"In this respect, we work closely with the physicians who prescribe the treatments and entrust their patients to us.
"As part of working to increase the effectiveness of the fight against chronic diseases, we offer methods of monitoring patients which enable doctors and healthcare professionals to target and personalise their intervention in order to improve therapeutic management."
1. WHO. Action Plan2008-2013 for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non communicable Diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2010/9789242597417_fre.pdf, accessed09/07/2013
2. WHO. Action Plan for the Implementation of the European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non communicable Diseases 2012-2016. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/174628/e96638-Fre.pdf, accessed09/07/2013
4. Adherence to Long Term Therapies. Evidence for Action. World Health Organization 2003: 1-194.
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