[Adaptation of medical care to the changing disease spectrum of adolescents].Gesundheitswesen. 1994 Oct; 56(10):537-42.G
The spectrum of diseases affecting today's children and adolescents has changed. Today's urgent health problems are no longer acute and infectious disorders but much rather psychosomatic and chronic disorders. However, the present health delivery system has not adapted its structure to this changed spectrum of disease. This paper reports on a study carried out by the project "Health Risks and Structures of Medical and Mental Health Care." The project belongs to the North Rhine-Westphalian Consortium for Public Health, and the study was carried out in cooperation with the Special Research Unit 227: "Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence." Results show that a small proportion of adolescents actually consult general practitioners. Inadequate cooperation between medical and mental health care services as well as insufficient links between these services and the life world of adolescents have led to a situation in which the use of professional assistance meets with barriers. As a result, adolescents continue to avoid visiting a physician even when they have already become ill. For this reason, there is an increasingly strong need to consider how to change the structures of medical and mental health care. Proposals are developed that meet the needs of adolescents and are oriented toward the requirements arising from the changing spectrum of disease.