Our attention is occupied like never before on the long-term care industry and the majority older adult population who call it home. According to the Claude Pepper Center, an aging-focused institute at Florida State University, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created enormous pressure on the entire health care system, but possibly the most tragic impact has been on the long-term care system for both younger and older people in residential care programs” (Claude Pepper Center, N.D.). Nursing homes are feeling the full force of this impact; 85% of their residents make up the demographic most vulnerable to this disease—people aged 80 years and older. Clearly the threat of COVID-19 is aimed at older adults as a side product of where they are spending their final years. What does it mean for the future of the long-term care industry, which is an undeniably necessary part of the care continuum?
The current pandemic is definitely encouraging care decision-makers to rethink their decisions about older adult care. From a survey of approximately 1,000 family health care decision-makers, Home Health Care News reports that “Over 50% of family members are now more likely to choose in-home care for their loved ones than they were prior to the coronavirus” (Donlan, 2020). A telling development identified in the survey is that “65% of respondents agreed that COVID-19 had completely changed their perception about the best way to care for aging seniors.” Many who had considered a nursing home have “now taken that option off the table.” Feelings about nursing homes appear to be a product of awareness of the death toll from COVID-19 in nursing home facilities across the country. Interestingly, those surveyed expressed that they were “still overwhelmingly confident that in-home caregivers were following necessary protocols during COVID-19.” In addition to pandemic-driven choices, home care also has some appeal from a policy and cost perspective. According to another Home Health Care News article, “Over the past two decades, many home health providers have been able to expand their patient census by poaching patients from SNFs. Often referred to as SNF-to-home diversion, the approach didn’t just benefit home health providers, though. It helped cut national health care spending by shifting care into lower-cost settings” (Holly, 2020). More than ever, people are going to want other options than a facility for aging family members. Adding to the home care trend, according to this article, “hospital-to-home models will also likely continue to gain momentum after the coronavirus.”
The article also includes:
This blog post excerpts a HealthStream article, “Envisioning the Future of Long-Term Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Download the full article here.
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