(Originally published in 1986)
Each year the public is becoming more conscious and concerned with issues of health care. It is no longer satisfactory to just be free of illness. People want to feel good, positive, and energetic. This psychology of increased expectations has been created over the years by the consistent string of medical “miracles” that have been developed by the health care industry.
To successfully address the public, the industry must now adopt the concept of Life with the same vigor as it attacked basic medical research in earlier decades. It must integrate physical facilities, programs, products, and skilled professionals to teach, guide, and support their clients. Life skills are necessary for the successful maintenance of wellness and the treatment of illness.
Medical progress has contributed to increasing average life spans. But, the benefit of added years has also created financial, ethical, and related quality of life problems. These problems cannot be treated as separate isolated symptoms or issues. Leaders of the health care system, government and private industry, must work together to create an integrated system which not only treats illness, but teaches, supports, and guides patients towards wellness goals. Working in concert with governments and insurers will ensure that health professionals have the necessary financial incentives and rewards to successfully implement these programs.
L.I.F.E is a concept and system designed to balance finance, ethics, wellness, and treatment. Early feedback from institutions and individuals confirm that it form a viable base for tomorrow’s health care delivery.
The L.I.F.E. concept creates a balanced environment that provides:
- High tech scientific care
- High touch human care
- Mechanisms for the treatment of illness
- Mechanisms for the promotion of wellness
Historically, medical professionals have received focused training in the treatment of illness. They are now being challenged to make the necessary transitions and develop programs focused on health and wellness. Long-term success will depend on how easily the profession adopts these concepts and integrates them with existing treatment protocols. The industry will need strong leadership to ensure that a single, integrated system emerges, rather than two competing systems.
The L.I.F.E concept is made up of seven different elements that together represent a fully integrated approach to health issues in the future. Health facilities will want to target development efforts towards those elements they currently lack. Development within a campus setting or individual facilities strategically located throughout the community are both viable approaches. Physical facility development combined with public relations and education in the local community will create a new image for these institutions. People will begin to understand and appreciate that health organizations are working with them to develop the Life process.
The eight “care” elements of the L.I.F.E concept are:
- Day Care – elders and children
- Elder Care – skilled nursing, assisted & independent living
- Health Care – primary, specialty, urgent, therapy
- Ambulatory Surgical Care (ASC) – same day surgery
- Education Awareness – learning, teaching, promotion
- Fitness & Awareness – fitness evaluation and activity centers
- Diagnostics – non-invasive technology
The goal of L.IF.E is to create facilities that address as many of the seven elements as possible. Successful implementation will allow facility executive management to satisfy their traditional needs in the areas of:
- Effective risk management
- Cost control and financial stability
- Striking a balance between wellness creation and the more traditional treatment of illness
- Creation of a community resource