Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] A 5-star rating system for nursing homes and the unintended consequences on health care disparities

From the 8 May 2015 post at Science Health

Information about the quality and performance of health care facilities can be confusing to consumers. Dozens of government organizations, trade groups and websites rate doctors, hospitals and long-term care facilities on all kinds of scales, from patient satisfaction to medical outcomes.

In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) attempted to simplify some of this data by creating a five-star rating system for nursing homes. The idea was that public reporting would drive improvement in care, helping nursing home residents and their families choose higher quality facilities, in turn encouraging nursing homes to improve quality to retain residents.

This data can be of limited use, however, for people whose decisions are constrained by insurance networks, cost and geography. People who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, often called “dual eligibles,” are particularly limited in their choices for long-term care. They are much more likely to have lower incomes, disabilities or cognitive impairment, and to receive low-quality health care in poor neighborhoods than other Medicare beneficiaries.

A new study in the May issue of Health Affairs by public health researchers from the University of Chicago, Harvard, and Penn confirms that despite best intentions, the new rating system exacerbated health disparities between this dual eligible group and non-dual eligible nursing home residents, i.e. those with better financial support. By 2010, two years after the system began, both groups lived in higher quality nursing homes overall, but non-dual eligible residents were more likely to actively choose a higher-rated nursing home. The gap between the two groups also increased: dual eligibles were still more likely to live in a one-star home, and less likely than non-dual eligibles to live in a top-rated home.

May 20, 2015 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month

English: Nursing and Residential Care Home, Wi...

English: Nursing and Residential Care Home, Withington This is Clyde Court, on Lapwing Lane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From a recent USA.gov email

 

When planning ahead in these uncertain financial times, it’s important to think about long-term care for yourself and your loved ones. Long-term care (LTC) is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your health or personal needs over a long period of time. These services might include emergency response systems, senior centers, assisted living, nursing homes, transportation services, and many more.

Most long-term care assists people with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing and using the bathroom. Other common long-term care services include helping with housework, cooking, shopping, or even managing money. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living or in nursing homes. And it’s not just for seniors—if you have a significant health challenge, you may need long-term care at any age.

While there are a variety of ways to pay for long-term care, it is important to think ahead about how you will fund the care you may need. Generally, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care, but only for a medically necessary skilled nursing facility or home health care. Long-term care insurance may be an option to help you and your family prepare ahead of time for the potential need for long-term care. There are a variety of plans available that vary in cost depending on what services you want covered and the age you begin coverage. Before you choose a plan you should take into account where and what kind of care you might need.

Be sure to take some time this month to check out your options and plan ahead, so you can rest assured that you and your family get the care you need. And if you’re a caregiver now for a family member with health challenges, find more resources and support from USA.gov.

 

Related resources

 

 

 

November 8, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another reason to get your Z’s- prevent a nursing home admission

 

English: Banks o'Dee Nursing Home Modern Care ...

English: Banks o’Dee Nursing Home Modern Care Home for the elderly in Abbotswell Road, Aberdeen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 19th July 2012 article at ScienceNewsDaily

 

Tired? Scientists have discovered another possible benefit of a night of restful and uninterrupted sleep. According to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health fragmented or interrupted sleep could predict future placement in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The study is featured in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and outlines the association between objectively measured sleep and subsequent institutionalization among older women.

“Sleep disturbances are common in older people,” said Adam Spira, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health. “Our results show that in community-dwelling older women, more fragmented sleep is associated with a greater risk of being placed in a nursing home or in a personal care home. We found that, compared to women with the least fragmented sleep, those who spent the most time awake after first falling asleep had about 3 times the odds of placement in a nursing home. Individuals with the lowest sleep efficiency — those who spent the smallest proportion of their time in bed actually sleeping — also had about 3 times the odds of nursing home placement.” The authors found similar patterns of associations between disturbed sleep and placement in personal care homes, such as assisted-living facilities. Sleep duration per se did not predict placement in either of these settings…

 

 

July 20, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Residential Care Facilities: A Key Sector in the Spectrum of Long-term Care Providers in the United States

Figure 1 is a stacked bar chart showing percent distributions of residential care facilities and their residents by facility size for 2010.

 

From the US National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief (Number 78, December 2011)

Key findings

Data from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities

  • In 2010, residential care facilities (RCFs) totaled 31,100, with 971,900 beds nationwide.
  • About one-half of RCFs were small facilities with 4–10 beds. The remainder comprised medium facilities with 11–25 beds (16%), large facilities with 26–100 beds (28%), and extra large facilities with more than 100 beds (7%).
  • One-tenth of all RCF residents lived in small RCFs and about that percentage (9%) lived in medium facilities, while the majority resided in large (52%) or extra large (29%) RCFs.
  • About 4 in 10 RCFs had one or more residents who had some or all of their long-term care services paid by Medicaid.
  • Larger RCFs were more likely than small RCFs to be chain-affiliated and to provide occupational therapy, physical therapy, social services counseling, and case management.

Residential care facilities (RCFs)—such as assisted living facilities and personal care homes—provide housing and supportive services to persons who cannot live independently but generally do not require the skilled level of care provided by nursing homes. RCFs are not federally regulated, and state approaches to RCF regulation vary widely (1). The ability to provide a comprehensive picture of the long-term care (LTC) industry has been hampered by the lack of data on RCFs (2,3). Previous estimates of the size of the RCF sector varied depending on how RCFs were defined (4,5). Using data from the first nationally representative survey of RCFs …

Read the entire press release

December 20, 2011 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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