The World Health Organization's regions of the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe: ageing of the population and nursing care


  • Miriam J. Hirschfeld RN DNSc

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer, Department of Nursing, Tel Aviv University and ncpurtnienf of AllicJ Health Services. Kupat lio/ini Sick Fund of the General Federation of Labour. Israel
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  • Paper prepared for the WHO ICN Panel on Health Care and Ageing, at the ICN 18th Quadrennial Congress, Tel Aviv, 15–20 June 1985.

M.J. Hirschfeld, Department of Nursing, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel.


This paper discuses the context and implications of nursing as a social force in regard to quality of care for the aged. The demographic transformations and its consequences in the WHO regions of the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe are discussed in their relation to socio-political, economic and educational developments and epidemiological changes. It is postulated that nursing has the choice of becoming a social force through raising its awareness of the new reality of a sizeable dependent population with chronic diseases. Nursing knowledge and research, the sharpening of political skills and the refinement of caring skills have the potential for influencing health care policy and long-term care services toward quality health care for the aged. Special attention is given to the use and misuse of concepts as self-care and appropriate technology. The final proof of nursing's willingness and ability to act as a social force will be in the allocation of efforts and resources in different countries. The value of nursing's contribution to the actual care of the aged will depend upon careful ethical considerations, as much as upon knowledge and influence.