New Care Model Allows Elderly to Stay at Home

Closing nursing home facilities due to rising health costs and diminishing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have forced an emergence of a new model of care that allows many elderly patients to remain in their homes while still receiving the medical care and social services offered in nursing homes.
According to a recent article in The Detroit Times, this new less expensive model involves a team of doctors, social workers, physical and occupational therapists and other specialists providing managed care for patients at home, adult day care centers and in specialist visits.
The article states the number of these programs is expanding rapidly, from 42 programs in 22 states in 2007 to 84 in 29 states today, at a time when many health care experts say nursing homes are no longer a viable option or medically justified for some elderly patients.
“It used to be that if you needed some kind of long-term care, the only way you could get that service was in a nursing home, with 24-hour nursing care,” said Jason A. Helgerson, the Medicaid director for New York state said in the news story. “That meant we were institutionalizing service for people, many of whom didn’t need 24-hour nursing care. If a person can get a service like home health care or Meals on Wheels, they can stay in an apartment and thrive in that environment, and it’s a lower cost to taxpayers.”
Nationally, the number of nursing homes has declined by nearly 350 in the past six years, according to the American Health Care Association while new adult day care centers provide almost all the services a nursing home would, including doctors exams, social activities and therapy, the news article states.

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