Kaiser Health News, in a story produced in collaboration with The Washington Post, reports on adult day care. It "may soon become harder to find and afford. The almost 4, 000 state-licensed centers around the country rely heavily on funding from state legislatures and charities, which have been hit hard by the recession. Advocates for adult day-care programs are pushing to include them in federal health-care overhaul legislation while also lobbying state legislatures and suing state regulators to keep centers from shutting their doors" (12/2). Read entire story. This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at kaiserhealthnews.org. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
Families with mentally ill members have "mixed feelings" about a New York court decision on adult homes. Meanwhile, Illinois officials admit to errors in mixing mentally ill criminals with seniors in nursing homes. The New York Times reports: "New York State is being pushed to disgorge thousands of mentally ill residents from institutional homes to less restrictive settings under a court decision last month. This has been a long-term goal of their advocates, who say that mentally ill New Yorkers have been warehoused in adult homes that provide minimal care while segregating them from society and stripping them of their dignity and initiative. But the decision has roused mixed feelings among those closest to the residents - their own families. In interviews, relatives said they were happy that the residents might soon be able to live on their own. But they also expressed fear, well founded or not, that life on the outside might prove difficult or even dangerous" (Hartocollis, 10/8).
Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH, of the University of Colorado Denver has been chosen by The Gerontological Society of America">Gerontological Society of America (GSA) - the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging - to receive the 2009 Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging. This honor, given annually, recognizes instances of practice informed by research and analysis, research that directly improved policy or practice, and distinction in bridging the worlds of research and practice. The award presentation will take place at GSA's 62nd Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 18 to 22, 2009, in Atlanta, GA. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit http://www.geron.org/am for further details. Coleman is a professor of medicine within the Divisions of Health Care Policy and Research and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.
A growing number of older adults are dying from dementia. In an editorial in the October 15, 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Greg Sachs, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute investigator, notes that end-of-life care for most older adults with dementia has not changed in decades and urges that these individuals be provided far greater access to palliative care, the management of pain and other symptoms. Dr. Sachs believes that more research on palliative care for patients with dementia is needed to update public policy and get lawmakers and insurance companies to recognize the need to support and fund care which will improve the overall health of older adults who can no longer speak for themselves. "Since individuals with advanced dementia cannot report their symptoms, these symptoms often are untreated, leaving them vulnerable to pain, difficulty breathing and various other conditions.
In excess of 15, 000 charters signed by the community and aged care workers calling on the Federal Government to properly fund aged care were handed over to the Federal Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot MP today at Amaroo Aged Care Facility in Tweed Heads. Ged Kearney, Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) said thousands of concerned people had signed the ANF's "Charter for Quality Aged Care". "There is a huge groundswell of support behind the ANF's campaign to boost funding for aged care in the next Federal budget. "The Prime Minister has committed to major reform of our health system to fix systemic problems and to deal with the ageing population. "Residential and community aged care must be at the top of the list for reform. "If you fix aged care you will go a long way to fixing public hospitals by preventing admissions of older Australians and by allowing safer, early discharge to nursing homes that have the qualified staff to care for them. "The ANF believes that key reforms must be made in aged care to boost the numbers of nurses and trained staff and to halt a decade long decline in their numbers.
Today's state news covers access to care issues in Florida and California, a new proposal to review premiums charged to small business, and the potential flaws of Ohio's nursing home payment plan. The Boston Globe : "Governor Deval Patrick is expected to announce a plan today that would give state insurance regulators the authority to review health insurance premiums that are charged to small businesses, an approach meant to stem the growing health care costs" (Viser, 10/20). The Associated Press/The Boston Globe : "A nurse assistant who is in a vegetative state after being attacked at a Pasadena, (Calif.) hospital has been unfairly denied care by workers compensation and her health insurance, her attorney alleges" (Mohajer, 10/20). Orlando Sentinel : A "47-year-old Orlando resident lost her job as a home caregiver scheduler last week and as a result, lost her health insurance." The story details the "double whammy" faced by people in this situation, especially those with chronic diseases and notes that about 297, 600 people in Florida "lost health insurance coverage in 2009 due to a rise in unemployment, according to a report released today by the health consumer organization Families USA" (Quintero, 10/20).
Right at Home, Inc., a leading provider of in-home companion and personal care assistance has begun its international expansion with the addition of its first Master Franchise in the United Kingdom, announced Allen Hager, founder and president of Right at Home. With more than 165 local franchises in 41 states, Right at Home will expand into the UK under a Master Franchise Agreement with Ken Deary who will open the initial location in Preston, England. The company's international expansion begins as Right at Home is expecting to grow domestically by 25 percent in 2009. "The need for skilled and compassionate in-home elder care has no geographic boundaries, " Hager said. "Our goal is to keep as many elderly and disabled adults living a quality life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. We feel that our expansion into Europe is a logical first step in our international expansion efforts." In 2008, the senior population in the United Kingdom accounted for 16 percent of the population, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics.
In the US, patients who die in hospital are almost five times more likely to have spent some time during their last hospital stay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as equivalent patients in England, according to a new study by researchers from both countries. The study is the work of lead author Dr Hannah Wunsch, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Columbia University in New York, and colleagues, and is published in the 1 November print issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Wunsch and colleagues also found that terminally ill patients over the age of 85 were 8 times more likely to spend time in the ICU during their last hospital stay than their counterparts in England. Wunsch explained in a statement that: "Evaluating the use of intensive care services is particularly important because it is costly, resource intensive, and often traumatic for patients and families, especially for those at the end of life." "We found far greater use of intensive care services in the United States during terminal hospitalizations, especially among medical patients and the elderly, " she added.
The beginning of November marks the start of National Family Caregivers Month, which is sponsored by the National Family Caregivers Association. In support of this annual awareness effort, Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT) is sharing tips to help caregivers take care of themselves so they better help the ones they love. Approximately 15 million Americans provide care for others. They spend at least part of their day - before or after work - assisting parents, family members or friends who need help in order to remain living in their own homes. It can be a difficult task. It's even harder if you are one of the "Sandwich Generation" - caring for your parents while caring for your children, too. If you feel stuck in the middle of caregiving, the U.S. Administration on Aging (AOA) offers the following suggestions: 1. Ask for help. Siblings, cousins and other family members can help share the load. You don't have to go it alone. Neighbors and friends may be willing to provide transportation or respite care or take on shopping duties.
The New York Times reports that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to discuss the public option and health costs with other Democratic leaders. "Ms. Pelosi has been working hard to build support for the most liberal version of a government-run insurance plan, the so-called robust public option, which would generally tie payments to doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to Medicare rates. But so far Ms. Pelosi has been coming up short." Aides say she may have to settle for a more moderate alternative that would require government to negotiate payment rates (Herszenhorn, 10/26). Roll Call reports that liberal Democrats are warning that they won't vote for a bill that doesn't embrace "a strong public insurance option." This part of the party caucus says "a reform plan with rates tied to Medicare instead of higher rates negotiated between the government and health care providers would save taxpayers $85 billion and would insure the most people" (Dennis, 10/27). Republicans, in the meantime, are waiting for their leaders to act on health reform, The Hill reports.