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Reporting a “fragmented health system” due to a lack of consistency in definitions, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines acute care in the context of an aging population of individuals living with multiple chronic illnesses and an increasing demand for acute services (Hirshon et al. 2013). Focusing on the time-sensitive nature of needs requiring rapid intervention, the definition consists of services “whose primary purpose is to improve health” (Hirshon et al. 2013: 386) with inclusion of health system components and functions, such as emergency, trauma, surgery, urgent care, intensive care, short-term stabilization, and prehospital care (ambulance or community care prior to transfer). Ideally, acute care functions in a health-system paradigm along with preventative and primary care, although research is needed to best integrate acute care across healthcare systems and better coordination is needed between...
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