An Ounce of Prevention…

April 25, 2019 Garrett Horrocks Capacity, Elder Law, General Interest, Health / Medical, In the News 0 Comments

My colleague, Sayuri Kagami, blogged Tuesday on efforts to use artificial intelligence in scanning for risk factors that have historically contributed to premature death.  Such efforts constitute a significant development in policy pertaining to preventive models of health care.

Broadly speaking, delivery of health care services can generally be categorized into one of two models.  The reactive model of health care is one based on acute care, and focuses on the treatment of illness as it arises and on an ongoing basis.  Your typical visit to the emergency room would generally fall within the scope of reactive health care.

The preventive model of health care, in contrast, is a proactive treatment model emphasizing, as one might expect, the prevention of illness and the mitigation of key risk factors contributing to chronic disease.  This model emerged largely as a result of the significant financial strain placed on public health care models in Ontario and abroad by the reactive model.

Treatment of acute and chronic illness on an ongoing and extended basis is, by most accounts, exceedingly expensive and inefficient.  In the context of estate planning, we are frequently exposed to the considerable financial and emotional tolls of treating Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses impacting cognition.

Since the 1970s, policy makers have made significant strides in advocating for a treatment model that sets out the benefits of preventive health care in an attempt to reduce the burden of reactive treatment models.  In particular, this model focuses on steps that may be taken by individuals to reduce the risk of chronic illness in order to alleviate the strain placed on the public health care system.

A recent study performed by Cancer Care Ontario identified four main risk factors common to more than 90% of instances of chronic disease:

  1. Tobacco consumption;
  2. Alcohol consumption;
  3. Lack of physical activity; and
  4. Unhealthy eating habits.

Proponents of the preventive have therefore advocated for increased funding devoted to mitigating each of these factors in order to reduce reactive spending down the road.

If you didn’t pay attention to your grandmother while growing up, take it from the experts: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thanks for reading.

Garrett Horrocks

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