Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

2m elderly will have no adult child to provide care by 2030

Empathic Urbanite

66259-425x283-Woman_and_son Wow. 2 million of us without carers! When I started this enterprise I knew that we were an ageing population and there’d be a lot of need for care in the future. But I hadn’t considered that there’d be so many childless people, which basically DOUBLES the number of people who will need paid care workers.

“By 2030, 230,000 people who need more than 20 hours of care a week will not have a relative to provide it, the think tank said.”

This is an IPPR report, so it’s solid evidence that our society, culture and especially government needs to start supporting care agencies and offering much better individual training and organisational opportunities if we are to meet this massive challenge. And don’t forget, when we talk about older people in the future, it’s not a report about some vague ‘other’, this time, we are talking about ourselves!

Three Sisters…

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May 2, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News article] Seniors moving to homecare based services face more hospital risk

Seniors moving to homecare based services face more hospital risk.

From the 8 January 2014 ScienceDaily article

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 3.55.44 AM

… Aging-in-Place House Plans by Nicolleli Architects. [not an endorsement]

Seniors want greater access to home- and community-based long-term care services. Medicaid policymakers have been happy to oblige with new programs to help people move out of expensive nursing homes and into cheaper community or home care. It seems like a “win-win” to fulfill seniors’ wishes while also saving Medicaid programs money, but a new study of such transitions in seven states finds that the practice resulted in a 40 percent greater risk of “potentially preventable” hospitalizations among seniors dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare.

“We are trying to move people into the community and I think that is a really great goal, but we aren’t necessarily providing the medical support services that are needed in the community,” said Andrea Wysocki, a postdoctoral scholar in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “One of the policy issues is how do we care for not only the long-term care needs when we move someone into home- and community-based settings but also how do we support their medical needs as well?”

Wysocki said her finding of a higher potentially preventable hospitalization risk for seniors who transitioned to community- or home-based care suggests that some medical needs are not as well addressed in community settings as they are in nursing homes. More vigilant and effective treatment for chronic, already-diagnosed ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could prevent some of the hospitalizations that occur.

There are two likely reasons why care in home and community settings is not as effective in preventing hospitalizations, Wysocki said.

[One]Nursing homes provide round-the-clock care by trained nurses and doctors, but workers with much less medical training provide community- and home-care services.

[Two] In addition, while Medicaid pays for long-term care, Medicare pays for medical care, meaning that Medicaid programs do not have a built-in financial incentive to prevent hospitalizations. Home- and community-based care is less expensive for Medicaid regardless of the medical outcome.

Read the entire article here

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January 23, 2014 Posted by | health care, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Keeping Elders Out of Hospitals as Much as Possible

From the December 4, 2013 post  by Marti Weston at As Our Parents Age

 

H 4 hospAnyone who has spent time with an elder parent in the hospital knows just how easy it is for one problem to be solved only to have the person discharged with different problems. This is not necessarily the fault of the medical caregivers or the hospital itself — it’s a result of a system that puts older people into beds and keeps them there. Add in bed alarms, the inability to move much, and that hospitals isolate elder patients from their routines and support communities, and you have a recipe for unsuccessful care, a result of age associated hospital complications.

So I recommend reading The Hospital is No Place for the Elderly, a November 20, 2013 article that appeared in the The Atlantic. This piece aptly illustrates the conundrum of frail elderly patients with chronic health issues admitted to hospitals where medical care focuses primarily on fixing acute health problems. The difficulty is that most of frail elders’ medical issues cannot be fixed — but the quality of their lives can improve. Author Jonathan Rauch also describes several programs in the United States — teams of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals — that collaborate to keep patients as healthy as possible and out of the hospital. The teams even save money.

Many team-based support programs for frail elders run deficits, despite that they are so successful, but Rauch reports that the climate is changing, as Medicare and some insurance companies develop a more welcoming attitude toward innovative health care programs. The Affordable Care Acthas designated money to support innovative and new models of care delivery. (To learn more about other innovative programs you might also want to read Atul Gwande’s 2011 New Yorker article about changing models of medical care.)

One of the most interesting parts of The Atlantic article was the description of the team meetings where participants collaborate and coordinate patients’ medical care in order to help elders stay as healthy as possible.

Best Atlantic Article Quotes

    • The idea is simple: rather than wait until people get sick and need hospitalization, you build a multidisciplinary team that visits them at home, coordinates health-related services, and tries to nip problems in the bud.
    • These people aren’t on death’s doorstep, but neither will they recover. Physically (and sometimes cognitively), they are frail
    • Patients were presented not as bundles of syndromes—as medical charts—but as having personal goals, such as making a trip or getting back on their feet. The team tries to think about meeting patients’ goals rather than performing procedures.

 

 

December 5, 2013 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

   

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