Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The State of Aging & Long Term Care: Today's Nursing Home Deliver Efficient, Quality Care to Residents With Complex Medical Needs

First installment in long term care series shows State of Florida over-65 population to nursing home bed population is among lowest in nation

Underscoring the State of Florida’s ability to ensure those needing long term care services receive the most appropriate care in the least restrictive setting and nursing homes’ ability to effectively deliver that high quality care, Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) today issued the first installment of their informational State of Long Term Care series in advance of the opening of the 2011 legislative session next week.

“Florida’s nursing homes are a vital part of the long term care system; they provide good quality care for our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Emmett Reed, Executive Director of FHCA, the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the frail elders they serve. “As the Legislature looks to overhaul the Medicaid system this session, we must safeguard our seniors to ensure that reform does not undo the steady improvements that have been made to quality nursing home care over the past 10 years.”

The State of Aging and Long Term Care Fact Sheet demonstrates that Florida’s over-65 population to nursing home bed population is among the lowest in the country at 2 percent versus 3.5 percent nationally. The Fact Sheet profiles today’s long term care resident, noting these individuals need assistance with 4.2 activities of daily living. With nursing homes playing an important post-acute care role and discharging patients at a higher rate today than ever before, this leaves only one third of today’s nursing home residents as the “long term care resident.” Often these individuals have Alzheimer’s or related dementias which require 24-hour skilled care and oversight, and as a result they could not be safely cared for in an assisted living facility (ALF) or at home.

A recent study by the Florida State University Claude Pepper Data Center presented before the legislative committees charged with architecting Medicaid reform proposals found that the average Medicaid nursing home caseload has decreased from 47,059 in 2001 to 42,661 in 2010. The study raises important considerations related to Medicaid managed long term care, pointing out that the effort to transition nursing home residents back to the community have required assisted living facilities (ALF) to offer a wider range of care. It notes, however, that the “typical” nursing home resident could not receive the appropriate medical care in an assisted living facility (ALF) where nursing services are limited and state and federal oversight of those services is less intense.

The week-long State of Long Term Care series will bring awareness to Florida’s long term care demographics, Medicaid reimbursement challenges, the economic impact of the profession and the steady improvements that have been made in quality care.

For more information, follow the series here or at:

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