Effective Continuum of Care

An effective continuum of care ensures access to preventive health services, treat-ment services, and long-term care services. These three types of health care do not function independently; rather, each is reinforced or weakened by the quality of the others, with treatment services in the central position. A solid continuum of care should be available throughout a person’s life.

There is a push in the American health care system to increase access and use of preven- tive care services, which are medically related and medically based services that focus on maintaining health. These services range from patient education on healthy lifestyle choices, to medical and commonsense aids to help patients make healthy choices. For example, smoking cessation programs offer preventive care in the form of education on the risks of smoking while enabling patients to quit through support groups and pharma- ceutical smoking cessation aids. Preventive care is vital for reducing the cost of health care in the nation, as it is less expensive than treatment and long-term care services. Maintain- ing physical health also improves quality of life and keeps people in the workforce.

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