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|A Newsletter of FCA's National Center on Caregiving|
August 3, 2011
Volume XI, Number 14
State Legislation, Policy & Reports
- Deficit Deal Will Likely Impact States; CBPP Report Finds More State Cuts In 2012 More...
- Focus On Potential Olmstead Violations In KS, TN, CA More...
- WI: Advocates Ask CMS To Deny New Cap On Family Care Program More...
- CT: Gatekeeper Program Expanded To Five Districts More...
- NH: Funding Eliminated For Case Managers For Elderly At Small Facilities More...
- NJ: Elderly And Disabled Required To Enroll In Medicaid HMO's More...
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
- Hospitals Will Be Penalized For Higher Readmission Rates More...
- Medicare Changes Needed, But Beneficiaries Can't Afford Higher Costs More...
- Brief Provides Primer On The Older Americans Act More...
- England: U.S. Could Learn From UK's Plan To Improve End Of Life Care More...
- UK: Caregiver Widower Sues Because Widowers Receive Less Pension Than Widows More...
- Canada: Ontario Hiring 700 Health-Care Workers For Aggressive Dementia Patients More...
- Canada: More Elderly Placed Under Care Of Public Advocate Because Of Family Disputes More...
- India: Country Is Ill-Equipped To Provide Care For 81 Million Elderly More...
Research Reports & Journal Articles
- Gallup: 72% Of Employed Caregivers Are Caring For A Parent More...
- Study: Adult Day Care Services Reduce Stress For Family Caregivers Of Adults With Dementia More...
- Alzheimer's Association International Conference Highlights More...
- Report: Health Care Provided In The Home Needs An Update More...
- Report: Subsidizing Caregiver Wages Could Reduce Turnover By 1/3 More...
Conferences & Trainings
- Conference: Well Spouse Association October 21-23 More...
- Conference: 2011 National Family Caregivers Conference October 27 More...
- Conference: Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving National Summit & Training Institute Oct. 5-7 More...
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
- Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards Due August 15th More...
- MN's LTC Ombudsman and Social Work Student Experience Living In Nursing Homes More...
- NPR Show Discusses Value Of Care Provided By Family Caregivers More...
- Op-Ed From FTC Attorney Cautions Consumers About "Senior Care Specialists" More...
- Center Awards Five Grants To Implement Mobile Health Technologies More...
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The Washington Post explains that the recently reached agreement on raising the debt ceiling in exchange for deep cuts in government spending has strong potential for additional strain on state budgets. A representative from Connecticut's Office of Policy and Management explained that cuts to programs like home-delivered meals (as a result of the cuts in spending mandated by the deficit agreement) could lead to more people in costlier, institutional care. States have already closed almost $480 billion in budget gaps since the recession started according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. State officials also expressed concern about possible changes to the federal government's share of the cost of Medicaid (FMAP). In Nevada, the federal government pays for 55% of the cost of Medicaid and every 1% shift would cost the state about $15 million. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recent analysis of state budgets found that budget cuts in the 2012 fiscal year are the most extreme cuts since the recession began. Out of 44 states for which data is available, 84% (37 states) plan to spend less on services than they spent in 2008. The New York Times recently profiled Florida's Republican Governor and Republican leaders in the legislature and their decisions to shun millions of federal dollars in grants to implement the Affordable Care Act. These decisions were labeled unconscionable by Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL), who explained that federal taxes paid by Floridians are going to other states as a result. For more information, visit:
Washington Post: "Debt ceiling compromise is likely to mean further fiscal challenges for states"
CBPP: "State Budget Cuts in the New Fiscal Year..."
New York Times "Opposing the Health Law, Florida Refuses Millions"
PHI National recently focused on several potential Olmstead violations in Kansas and Tennessee. The Kansas Health Institute explains that the head of the Olmstead enforcement team recently visited Kansas to discuss Olmstead with the Topeka Human Relations Commission. In addition to long waiting lists and Kansas not having an Olmstead plan, advocates are also concerned that a potential plan to reduce Kansas Medicaid spending by $200 million will likely reduce or weaken home and community based services. In Tennessee, several people with disabilities are suing the state for Olmstead violations after a cap was implemented that limited one-on-one nursing services to 12 hours a day, while personal assistance services are capped at 215 hours a month (about 7 hours a day). California's closing of its Adult Day Health Care Program resulted in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filing a brief in an injunction case filed by Disability Rights California. For more information, visit:
Wisconsin's recently passed budget included a cap on its Family Care Program that is estimated to save $100 million over the course of two years, but advocates have suggested the cap may lead to Olmstead violations. An Op-Ed about the cuts by the director of the Milwaukee Office of Disability Rights Wisconsin and the chair of the Milwaukee County Commission on Aging explains that when Family Care was implemented, counties "turned over" their funding to the state with the understanding that it would provide services through Family Care. The authors suggest that the state is going back on that agreement but keeping the funding, which will lead to costlier, early nursing home placement and more people on waiting lists. In a letter asking CMS to block the changes, advocates note that as part of the original design, every eligible person was required to have entitlement to Family Care within 36 months of the waiver being implemented in their county. For more information, visit:
The Gatekeeper program in Connecticut teaches people who work with a large number of senior citizens how to make referrals to a program that helps older adults who may be in distress. Program staff can assist people with financial planning, in-home medical care, legal advice, or transportation with the overarching goal of allowing people to age in their own homes. The program is currently run by St. Luke's Eldercare services and will be expanded to four agencies in five districts. The state will provide $40,000 in funding to hire a staff member at each of the four organizations, and each agency is expected to make 100 presentations and 50 assessments per year. Trainings are typically targeted to groups who come into frequent contact with seniors, including postal workers, grocery store cashiers, firefighters, and hairdressers. For more information, visit:
Governor John Lynch recently recommended cutting funding for case managers who assist about 500 elderly, poor residents who live in small facilities. The move is expected to save $1 million and the facilities where residents live will now be expected to perform the case management function. Some critics suggest that there is potential for conflicts of interest, for example, if a resident wanted to move out of a facility. For more information, visit:
A recent article profiled New Jersey's shift to providing Medicaid through HMO's, a move that is being duplicated throughout the nation. For existing Medicaid beneficiaries, they will enroll in an HMO that will continue paying their providers, and the HMO will later assess the beneficiary to ensure that they meet eligibility criteria and will negotiate new contracts with the providers. The shift to HMO's is intended to control Medicaid costs in New Jersey, especially important since almost $1 billion in extra federal funding ended on June 30th. While state officials suggest the change will lead to better coordinated care, less duplicated services, and reduced costs, some advocates are concerned. The CEO of a home care staffing association expressed that the state did not allow adequate time for the transition and suggested that this could lead to late reimbursements for the companies as billing systems are converted. Nursing homes will receive about $9 less each day for the 29,000 Medicaid residents, which the president of the Health Care Association of New Jersey suggested will lead to a shortfall of about $35 every day for each Medicaid patient. Patients with complex disabilities and medical needs were previously exempted from enrolling in managed care, however, they will now have to enroll in an HMO but will continue receiving their same services until equal care is arranged in their new network. For more information, visit:
Kaiser Health News recently reported that the federal government will soon release final rules that will penalize hospitals for high readmission rates. The goal is to reduce costs by improving discharges so that fewer people are readmitted to the hospital unnecessarily. Starting in October 2012, hospitals with the highest readmissions rates could lose up to three percent of their Medicare payments. Medicare will also potentially pay less to hospitals whose patients have higher-than-average costs for patient care by calculating the costs incurred during their stay as well as any costs within 90 days after discharge. Hospital representatives have expressed concerns that the new rules could penalize hospitals for issues out of their control- for example whether or not a patient follows through to obtain a prescription. Trinity Health is highlighted for its work at the 50 hospitals it owns where nurses set up doctor appointments prior to a patient's discharge and also confirm that patients have the ability to get to the appointment. For more information, visit:
Kaiser Health News: "Medicare Prepares Rule To Penalize Hospitals With High Readmission Rates"
Medicare Changes Needed, But Beneficiaries Can't Afford Higher Costs
The Washington Post recently profiled Helen Johnson, who coordinates a caregiver support program in Maryland and who continues to work despite being 74 years old and struggling with her own health care issues. Johnson is profiled in the context of the debate about Medicare, which currently accounts for 15% of the federal budget and is expected to grow with the looming baby boomer population. Her monthly Social Security check of $1,450 makes her "too rich" to qualify for programs to help with her Medicare premiums, yet does not provide enough income to cover all of her bills, which is why she is continuing to work. Some of the proposals thus far to address costs would shift costs to Medicare beneficiaries, for example, Republican Representative Paul Ryan's voucher program would double current out-of-pocket health care spending for seniors to $12,500, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. Kaiser's analysis of Medicare data found that almost half of Medicare recipients have incomes at or below 200% of the poverty line ($21,780 for an individual). Only five percent of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes of $80,000 or higher, thus shifting more costs to the beneficiaries may not be feasible. For more information, visit:
Washington Post: "Medicare doesn't cover many health-care expenses for low-income seniors"
Brief Provides Primer On The Older Americans Act
The National Health Policy Forum released a guide earlier this summer on the Older Americans Act, which is supposed to be reauthorized this year. The brief explains the programs within the seven titles of the act (of which six are run through the Administration on Aging), the history of the act, and how funding is allocated. The United State Senate Special Committee has held several hearings this year on the Older Americans Act. For more information, visit:
National Health Policy Forum: "Older Americans Act of 1965: Programs and Funding"
England: U.S. Could Learn From UK's Plan To Improve End Of Life Care
A research brief from the Commonwealth Fund provides insight into England's End Of Life Care Strategy, a ten year plan that was adopted in 2008 by the Department of Health and National Health Service. The brief explains that the U.S. and U.K. face some similar challenges in providing care and the author suggests that U.S. policymakers could learn from the U.K.'s experience. For example, the medical societies and caregiver organizations in the U.K. accept and support the plan, probably due to the participatory process in which the strategy was developed, which spanned two years and included an advisory board, six working groups, and consultations with 300 stakeholders. The English approach also focuses strongly on assisting physicians in recognizing when patients are entering a trajectory that may end in death, implementing care based on this, and using the metric of "death at home" (where most people prefer to die). The author explains, "However, the English approach that the government should try to increase awareness of the need for end-of-life care planning contrasts strongly with the situation in the United States, where the idea of compensating physicians for having end-of-life care conversations with their patients prompted fears, however unfounded, of the creation of "death panels" that would determine who deserved to live." For more information, visit:
Commonwealth Fund: "England's Approach to Improving End-of-Life Care: A Strategy for Honoring Patients' Choices"
UK: Caregiver Widower Sues Because Widowers Receive Less Pension Than Widows
A widower in the United Kingdom, Ian Cockbrun, is suing the Department of Health because he receives ?3,200 less ($5,200) annually in pension than a widow would in the same situation. His wife passed away in 2007, and Mr. Cockburn argues that his wife's contributions to the pension system should be treated in the same manner as a man's contributions. When the Department of Health calculates pensions, it discounts contributions made by deceased wives before April 6, 1988, whereas widows' pensions are based on the full contributions by their husbands. This provision is in place because of women's lower earning potential and child-care responsibilities placing them at an economic disadvantage. A number of studies have also found that caregivers are more likely to be women. However, in Mr. Cockburn's case, he had stopped working to serve as his wife's full-time caregiver while she battled cancer. If he is successful, the result could be the Department of Health paying an extra ?1billion a year to widowers. For more information, visit:
Telegraph: "Bereaved husband claims sex discrimination over NHS pension"
Canada: Ontario Hiring 700 Health-Care Workers For Aggressive Dementia Patients
The Health Ministry of Ontario is planning to hire 700 new health-care workers as part of a new program, the Ontario Behavioural Support Systems Project, which will begin with four pilot projects and be rolled out across Ontario within a year. One of the designers of the program explains its three pronged approach includes better coordination of existing services, deploying teams of specialists who can assess beahvaioural problems and educate health-care workers already in the field, and to identifying gaps in services and finding "flexible" solutions. The goal is to allow more people to stay in their homes and also to reduce the use of medication and restraints for patients who are already living in institutions. A doctor interviewed in the article was cautiously optimistic, noting that in some cases, even if a person is trained to understand behaviours caused by the disease, there isn't much people can do. She also suggested that there is little dementia training available and it may be difficult to find 700 qualified people. For more information, visit:
The Globe and Mail: "Ontario to expand help for aggressive dementia patients"
Canada: More Elderly Placed Under Care Of Public Advocate Because Of Family Disputes
The Victorian Public Advocate program has seen a 10% increase in the number of elderly Victorians placed under its care in the past financial year, partly due to families who are taking disputes to the program. Guardianship through the program was introduced in 1986 with the goal of protecting people with intellectual disabilities without families to care for them. A Public Advocate explains that there are currently 50 people on the waiting list for a guardian and that 35% of the current 1,574 guardianship cases are due to dementia. She suggests that family members are often in conflict over money, where care should be provided, and medical decisions. For more information, visit:
The Age.Com AU: "Guardians for old in big demand"
FCA Fact Sheet: "Caregiving with your siblings"
India: Country Is Ill-Equipped To Provide Care For 81 Million Elderly
A recent series focusing on India (The Shiva Rules) by the Global Post addressed India's growing elderly population and how cultural and economic changes may leave many elders to fend for themselves. Historically, India's culture of respect for the elderly translated to multi-generational living with parents cared for by their sons and daughters-in-law in the same home. However, with economic changes, children move to cities or to the U.S. or Europe, and fewer than 40% of Indians now live in joint families, leaving some parents to feel neglected or abandoned by their families, especially since an estimated 50% of elderly are financially dependent on others. Nursing homes are also considered taboo because they go against the idea of caring for one's family. While Indians who worked in the formal sector receive pensions, more than 90% of the population work outside the formal sector. A pension program for the very poor provides 200 rupees ($4.50) a month, and legislation recently enacted lowered the eligibility age to 60 and will give 500 rupees ($11.30) a month to those over the age of 80. Health care for the elderly is also cited as an issue because of lack of specialized geriatric services and overall lack of access to care. For more information, visit:
Global Post: Shiva Rules: "Will the elderly bring down India?"
Gallup: 72% Of Employed Caregivers Are Caring For A Parent
Gallup recently released data from surveys of employed caregivers, with three in-depth articles. The first article focuses on demographics of caregivers and a trend that the less income and education an American has, the more likely they are to be a caregiver. Twenty-one percent of Americans who make $36,000 or less report that they are caregivers, while only 15% of high income ($90,000+) employees report serving as caregivers. The authors speculate that higher-income Americans may be able to pay for professional care, or potentially that higher income/educated Americans tend to be younger.
The second article highlights data on caregiving and employment and finds that while 71% of caregivers report that their employer is aware of their caregiving role, only about a quarter of employees have access to employer programs that would support them, for example support groups, ask-a-nurse services, financial/legal advisors, and assisted living counselors.
The third article provides data on the amount of time and types of caregiving activities that people perform. In a survey of 2,805 employed caregivers, 72% are careing for a parent and 55% reported providing care for three years or more. Caregivers assisted with general day-to-day tasks on an average of 13 days a month, while providing personal assistance with activities like toileting, dressing, eating and bathing on an average of six days a month. The majority of caregivers (64%) report that the care recipient does not live with them, however, of those who don't live with the care recipient, 66% live within ten miles of the care recipient. Caregivers report that on average, they spend five hours a day providing companionship or supervising their loved ones and thirteen hours a month on navigating health care, coordinating disease visits, and managing financial manners for their loved one. For more information, visit:
Gallup Part One: More Than One in Six American Workers Also Act as Caregivers
Gallup Part Two: Caregiving Costs U.S. Economy $25.2 Billion in Lost Productivity
Gallup Part Three: Most Caregivers Look After Elderly Parent; Invest a Lot of Time
Study: Adult Day Care Services Reduce Stress For Family Caregivers Of Adults With Dementia
A recent study provided 150 caregivers in New Jersey who care for people with dementia with 24-hour daily diaries and assessed their stress levels prior to their use of adult day care services. The care recipients attended the centers for an average of six hours a day for three days a week, with average activities including 30 minutes of physical activity, one-two hours of social activity, and one hour of activities focused on cognitive stimulation. At the beginning of the study, caregivers reported an average of two hours a day of behavior issues, but during the study, this number decreased significantly on days that the care receiver attended the adult day program. During the first month, behavior problems reduced to 75 minutes, and during the second month, 52 minutes. The authors note that this effect is driven in part because the person with dementia is at the day program (so the caregiver wouldn't experience the behavior problems), but also note that sleeping problems and behavior problems at home were reduced on days when the person attended the day care center. In contrast to past studies, their results indicate that the adult day care center didn't just "shift" stressors from one part of the day to another, but actually reduced stress and is an effective way to provide respite. For more information, visit:
Penn State Press Release: "Adult day care services provide much-needed break to family caregivers"
The Journals of Gerontology: Series B Advance Access: "Effects of Adult Day Care on Daily Stress of Caregivers: A Within-Person Approach" (Abstract is free)
Alzheimer's Association International Conference Highlights
A number of studies were presented at the conference this year, including a study from researchers at UCSF estimated that roughly half of the Alzheimer's cases in the U.S. could be attributable to behaviors or conditions that can be modified, including physical inactivity, smoking, depression, low education, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. However, the authors caution that there isn't scientific proof that these risk factors cause Alzheimer's. Another study found that women in France, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the U.S. fear Alzheimer's disease more than any disease except cancer, possibly because they are also more likely to be caregivers for patients with Alzheimer's. The poll found that if roles were reversed, and the caregiver were to develop Alzheimer's, most felt that their spouses would care for them, however, men were more likely to indicate their wives would provide care while women were more likely to say they would rely on their children or paid caregivers. Women were also more likely to support government spending on research for a cure. For more information, visit:
New York Times "Grasping for Any Way to Prevent Alzheimer's"
Health Day "Women Bear Greatest Burden of Alzheimer's"
Alzheimer's Association Press Release: Research Advances from the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2011
Report: Health Care Provided In The Home Needs An Update
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) contracted with the National Research Council to research home health care issues. The resulting book (which can be downloaded as a free PDF) provides recommendations divided into four areas, including 1) health care technologies (including medical devices and health IT); 2) caregivers and care recipients; 3) residential environments for health care; and 4) research and development needs. The authors suggest that better and clearer regulations around health care applications and systems would lead to more consistent designs, especially important as medical records are becoming electronically stored and accessed. For professional caregivers, the authors explain that home health care services are "organized primarily around regulations and payments designed for inpatient or outpatient acute care settings" and suggest certification/credentialing standards for professional caregivers as well as more informational and training materials for family caregivers. The authors suggest that home modifications are an important issues for people aging in their homes and suggest federal partnerships to assist people with modifications and changing how new homes are designed. The authors conclude that while research has been conducted on improving home health care, it has not yet been effectively translated into practice. For more information, visit:
The National Academies Press: "Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors" (Book/chapters can be downloaded free as PDF's)
Report: Subsidizing Caregiver Wages Could Reduce Turnover By 1/3
A recent article in the Journal of Disability Policy Studies examines turnover of professional caregivers and finds that because training costs are paid for by the government, providers may not have much incentive to reduce turnover. While the authors were examining data on long-term community-based residential services for persons with developmental disabilities, they suggest that their results also carry over to nursing homes and elder care centers. The authors explain that the government currently pays for entry-level training for workers, which means providers don't have much incentive to reduce turnover. Furthermore, in Illinois, they suggest that the state's "blind-matching system, based on geography and if a provider has an empty bed" means that consumers aren't able to "discipline" providers for lower-quality care that happens due to high turnover. Citing related research conducted with the same data, the authors suggest that increasing compensation by 24 to 31% (at an annual cost of $4,824 to $6,143) would decrease turnover by 1/3. By subsidizing wages or providing other incentives to providers, the government could reduce turnover, thus improving quality. For more information, visit:
Journal of Disability Policy Studies: "Should Government Subsidize Caregiver Wages? Some Evidence on Worker Turnover and the Cost of Long-Term Care in Group Homes for Persons With Developmental Disabilities (Abstract is free)
EurekAlert: "Study: Subsidizing wages at long-term care facilities would cut turnover"
The Well Spouse Association will sponsor a conference in Atlanta, Georgia on October 21-23, 2011. The keynote for the conference is Elissa Lewin, who founded a respite home for caregivers in Pennsylvania, and sessions include "The Nursing Home Decision," "Hospice Care," "Handling Difficult Ill Spouses," "Caregiver's Bookshelf," and "Lessons Through Loss." Early registration ends September 21st, for more information, or to register, visit:
Well Spouse Association
The Family Support Center of New Jersey is sponsoring the 2011 National Family Caregivers Conference on October 27, in Iselin, New Jersey. The conference will focus on caregiving and technology, caregiver health and well-being, and aging at home. The keynote speaker is Gail Sheehy. For more information, visit:
Family Support Center of New Jersey
Conference: Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving National Summit & Training Institute Oct. 5-7
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving's National Summit & Training Institute will take place in Americus, Georgia on October 5-7th. The event will include training on three evidence-based programs (Reach II, Care Consultation, and Powerful Tools for Caregivers) as well as sessions focused on implementation of programs in the community. For more information, visit:
Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving National Summit & Training Institute
Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards Due August 15th
Applications are due in less than two weeks (August 15th) for the fourth annual Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards. The awards are given in three categories, Creative Expression, Diverse & Multicultural Communities, and Policy & Advocacy. Each of the three award recipients receive a $20,000 award, and applications are invited from non-profits, government agencies, and universities. The application deadline is August 15th, 2011. For more information or to view the application, visit:
FCA: "Rosalinde Gilbert Awards Application"
MN's LTC Ombudsman and Social Work Student Experience Living In Nursing Homes
Minnesota's Long-Term Care Ombudsman recently had first-hand experience of staying in a nursing home while recovering from shoulder surgery and while she was scheduled to stay for a week, she left after 25 hours. Deb Holtz explains that other than somebody offering her dinner, she sat alone for five hours after being admitted, without an admissions meeting. Right before bed time, a nurse entered her room to perform a skin check (to prevent bed sores), and despite Holtz explaining she didn't need the check because she was mobile, the nurse proceeded to check her exposed areas like her feet. The nurse stopped when Holtz told her to write on her chart that she had declined treatment, something she knew she had the legal right to request. Holtz was awakened the next morning by an aide turning on bright lights and telling her to stand up so she could be weighed. She ended her stay that day and explains that she felt a loss of dignity and that she felt more like a "check-mark on a to-do list."
Kara Janes is a graduate student in social work in Maine who participated in a similar experience to strengthen empathy and clinical knowledge of living in a long-term care facility. The program is called "Learning by Living," and through it, Janes spent ten days at a nursing home. As part of the program, Janes had a "diagnosis" of a stroke that disabled her right hand side as well as pneumonia because of an impaired ability to swallow. She fully embraced her diagnosis by being fed a pureed diet, being assisted with toileting, bathing in a whirlpool tub, and not having any visitors during her stay. While she applauds the staff and programs at the facility (which volunteered to serve as a host agency), she explains to the Bangor Daily News that the experience has still been challenging- "You lose your independence. You can't think for yourself. Everything is done for you." An administrator from the facility explains, "There's no place like home, but a busy in-house social calendar, regular shopping excursions and other "field trips" along with a cadre of dedicated volunteers help make Lakewood more livable." Janes is the first non-doctor to participate in the program, which has had 26 participants to date. The article also features a video interview with Janes. For more information, visit:
Star Tribune "Nursing home stay an eye-opener for advocate for elderly"
Bangor Daily News: "Long-term blues: UMaine student takes an insider look at nursing home care"
NPR Show Discusses Value Of Care Provided By Family Caregivers
NPR's "On-Point" show recently addressed the value of care provided by family caregivers, the stress caused by caregiving, and some of the additional costs borne by family caregivers. Susan Reinhard, one of the authors of AARP's recent report that found caregivers provided $450 billion of "free" care in 2009, explained that family caregivers make 1.4 billion trips to doctor's offices every year. She suggested that trying to allow people to age in their homes is often dependent on family caregivers. Eileen DeGaetano, a caregiver who is also a nurse, explained that the care being provided is increasingly complex, and explained that having siblings and family members who participate has played a large role her parents remaining in their home. Christina Irving, a family consultant with Family Caregiver Alliance, explained that caregivers enter a new world with a lot of changes and a lot of uncertainty. She discussed the role of social workers who help caregivers navigate the many issues in long-term care. Family caregivers called throughout the program to share their experiences. To listen to the show, visit:
NPR On Point: "The Many Costs Of Elder Care"
Op-Ed From FTC Attorney Cautions Consumers About "Senior Care Specialists"
A recent Op-Ed in Kaiser Health News by David Spiegel, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, cautions consumers about specialists that promise to provide expertise in finding a home for an aging parent. Spiegel explains that the companies are "the cyberspace era's quick fix solution for the growing number of Americans seeking non-nursing home institutional care for their aging parents, relatives, and significant others." He explains that licensing and professional ethics standards are essentially non-existent. While a company's service may be free to the consumer, the company may also receive a payment from the assisted living facility for each successful referral, which can amount to 50% or more of the first month's rent payment- amounting to a "referral bonus" of $3,000 for a high-end facility. This could motivate placement specialists to steer customers to the most expensive option. Spiegel suggests that a better option may be to hire a brick-and-mortar geriatric care management agency that employs licensed professionals, and will charge an average of $300 to $800 for an assessment. He suggests using a listing on the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers Web Site to find these agencies. For more information, visit:
Kaiser Health News: "The Questionable Lure Of Free Long-Term Care Placement Services"
Center Awards Five Grants To Implement Mobile Health Technologies
The Center for Technology and Aging awarded grants last month to five organizations who will use the funding to explore the best ways to implement mobile health technologies for older adults with chronic health conditions. The center released a paper earlier this year that examines how cell/smart phones, laptops/tablet computers, and other mobile-enabled devices can be used by older Americans, their caregivers, and their doctors to better manager chronic diseases, use medications properly, and avoid safety risks like falls. The authors suggest that technology could also result in better healthcare quality, lower costs, and less burdens on family and professional caregivers. The grants include a project to prevent/delay transitions of Medicare members with heart disease to higher levels of care settings; a tablet-based touchscreen assessment/care planning tool; a medication adherence application; a SMS-based intervention to improve diabetes education and care management; and remote monitoring of patients with COPD. For more information, visit:
CTA Draft Paper: "mHealth Technologies: Applications to Benefit Older Adults
CTA Press Release About Grants
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