Types and Organization of Care

The prior sections discussed the varied settings and professionals who deliver healthcare. In this section, we discuss types of care as well as how care is organized. Perhaps the most important distinction is between chronic care and acute care. Chronic care addresses preexisting or long-term illness, and acute care is concerned with short-term or severe illness of brief duration. Examples of chronic medical conditions include asthma, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes. The prevalence of chronic illness has increased over time. It is estimated that almost half of all Americans are chronically ill,13 and half of the chronically ...

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