Wake up America! The care needs for people with long-term health problems are drastically increasing (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK217736/). They can be medical (physical and mental) and/or social. More clients in need of long-term care are finding themselves alone, with no family or friends to help with caretaking. And even those with support systems in place realize that the complexity of caring for someone with chronic or permanent health conditions is overwhelming.
We really have our heads in the sand with this issue since we have few policy changes occurring in the medical, social, financial, and political arenas. Our current system has tremendous shortcomings, and yet the financial burden of long-term care is escalating.
What is Long-Term Care ?
Health Care Financing Review defines Long-Term Care (LTC) as ”the health, social, and residential services provided to chronically disabled persons over an extended period of time.” Although we associate long-term care with the elderly population, LTC also includes the physically and mentally disabled of any age. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes: “Long term health care refers to the professional or personal services required on a recurring or continuous basis by an individual because of chronic or permanent physical or mental impairment.”
What is the usage and cost of LTC?
The wealthy will be able to cover their costs for LTC, and the poor will not.”Sandwiched in the middle are people with some financial assets, but not necessarily enough to fund a $300,000 (or more) long-term care outlay at the end of their lives” (https://www.morningstar.com/articles/879494/75-mustknow-statistics-about-longterm-care-2018-ed). Long-term care insurance is an option, but it is expensive and the insured face the risk of hikes in their premiums, along with an unpredictable future economy.
What are the policy themes being studied by the NIH?
The National Institute of Health(NIH) is investigating four research areas for LTC:
LTC Challenges That We Don’t Like to Think About
The NY Caring Majority is a campaign that is “bringing together seniors, people with disabilities, family caregivers and homecare workers to fight for a just long-term care system in New York” (https://www.nycaringmajority.org/ ). Some ideas include support of the NY Health Act, secure the funding of pilot projects that will invest in the homecare workforce, and maintaining the “Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program,” which allows the hiring of loved ones and support people to care for the LTC population (Caring Majority, Hudson Valley). If you are interested in this subject, check the website https://www.nycaringmajority.org/ or contact me and I will provide you with more information about the local campaign launch:
Hudson Valley Campaign Launch
Thursday, September 27, 2019 from 4-6pm
13 Grand St., Kingston, NY 12401
Charlotte Michos is a clinical nurse specialist who values personal-centered care and serves as a Healthcare Consultant in helping others make informed decisions.
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