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Clinical Preventive Services for Older Adults

Photo: A healthcare professionalEvery day in America about 10,000 people turn 65. By the year 2030, roughly one out of every five Americans will be aged 65 years and older. Unfortunately, many older adults currently do not receive vaccinations, screenings, and other preventive services national experts recommend. These important services help detect many diseases, delay their onset, or identify them early in their most treatable stages to ensure healthier, longer, and more productive lives for older adults. By presenting and interpreting available state and national self-reported data, the report Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults: Closing the Gap [PDF - 10MB] aims to raise awareness of crucial gaps and increase interventions focused on those currently underserved.

At the core of this report are eight indicators for monitoring the use of clinical preventive services among adults 65 and older: two vaccinations that protect against influenza and pneumococcal disease; five screenings for early detection of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, lipid disorders, and osteoporosis; and one counseling service for smoking cessation. This provides a baseline of data through which to monitor progress in ensuring recommended services reach this key population. Additionally, the report highlights seven other recommended services for older adults: alcohol misuse screening and counseling; aspirin use; blood pressure screening; cervical cancer screening; depression screening, obesity screening and counseling; and zoster vaccination.

Photo: Prevention /WellnessThe challenges underlying the disparities in the use of clinical preventive services are complex and reach beyond the traditional heath care arena of patient-provider interactions. Combining forces of the public health infrastructure, aging services network, community-based organizations, and linking to health systems affords a real opportunity to make a difference. This report offers examples of recent activities and interventions that have focused on increasing the use of clinical preventive services in diverse communities. Among the highlighted efforts are community actions designed to build awareness, create environments that offer convenient access to services, and adopt public policies to increase access and uptake of services.

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