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The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a package of tools, including a new digital application to help health and social workers provide better care for older people.

The innovative app, known as WHO ICOPE Handbook App, provides practical guidance to address conditions including mobility limitations, malnutrition, vision and hearing loss, cognitive decline, depressive symptoms and social care and support.

Used in conjunction with a package of tools including a new handbook, the app will accelerate training of health and social workers to better address the diverse needs of older people.

Dr Anshu Banerjee, Director of the department of Maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health and ageing at WHO, said: “It is essential that services for older people are included in universal health care packages. At the same time there needs to be good coordination between the health and social services to provide optimal care when needed.

“The new package of tools supports healthy ageing with a person-centred and coordinated model of care.”

The Integrated Care for Older People package of tools is the result of two years of extensive consultations by WHO with key experts and stakeholders, including civil society representatives.

Empowering older people and enabling their full participation and social inclusion in good health are ways to reduce inequalities, stresses WHO.

“Such innovation will enable older people to continue doing the things they value and prevent them from social isolation and care dependency,” concluded Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho, Group Lead on ageing and integrated care at WHO. “Intervening close to where older people live, with active participation of the community and older persons themselves, is essential for a personalized care plan.”

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