Post COVID-19 World Brings Changes in Long-Term Care

One of the results of the virus crisis will be changes in long-term care. These changes should bring even better quality and safeguards. As more Americans need extended care, preparing is essential before retirement.

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Post COVID-19 World Brings Changes in Long-Term Care
6 Min Read April 7th, 2020

To say the least, our world will be different in the post-COVID-19. Like 9/11, the 2008 market crash, World War II, and the Great Depression, uncertain times and unexpected events bring about changes in our everyday life.

As a result of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, nations across the globe initiated public health campaigns. They started to communicate with the public and alert them at the start of the annual flu season.

Advances in medical science after that pandemic included vaccines, which helped people avoid getting sick in the first place. Epidemiology, which is the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of a disease, became a science and part of public health as a result of the Spanish Flu epidemic.

The government became much more involved in medical science and research. The advances we enjoy today in all areas of health care, and the resulting longevity, are a result of progress made in medical science.

The development of the practical nurse, a person with a lower level of training, allowed more time for highly skilled registered nurses to provide a higher level of care to those in need. This extra time provided better care for all patients, especially at a time of an epidemic.

Post COVID-19 Will Bring Closer Attention to Infection Control

Once the dust settles how will COVID-19 change how we address long-term care and aging issues? One thing for sure, the hard-working individuals who provide long-term care services and supports are getting more attention for their efforts. During a crisis, they still offered the help and assistance that so many people require due to an extended illness, accident, or the impact of aging. They did so even though they could get sick themselves.

“The quality caregivers who are willing to put themselves at risk for the seniors has been inspiring to see,” said Jenny Novy, President of Amada Senior Care in suburban Chicago.

She says caregivers should be following the strict guidelines of the CDC and IDPH.

Technology Will Play a Bigger Role

Tele-Medicine and remote monitoring will become a more significant part of all areas of health care, including long-term care. According to Andrew Mastrandonas, CEO at Pillar, Asia’s leading home care company, in cases where a patient does not need around-the-clock caregiving, remote monitoring will allow more health professionals to kick into action as the person’s condition warrants.

Infection control will become much more crucial in all levels of care, be it at home, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, as well as nursing homes. The transmission of viral infections to individuals who already have health or age-related issues is especially concerning, especially in an institutional environment.

We have seen around the country long-term care facilities have epidemics due to COVID-19 in addition to the flu virus. Epidemics within a facility can be deadly. Since both staff and visitors can bring in infection, special attention needs to be in place to avoid the quick spread of disease.

More Precautions in LTC Facilities

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and the American Assisted Living Association have actively encouraged, “strong infection control policies and procedures and to adhere to basic standard and droplet precautions.”

One of the advantages of assisted living facilities is the availability of social interaction. These activities are more than just entertainment. They promote both physical and mental benefits keeping people active. 

However, during a viral infection outbreak, this advantage can become a curse. As a result, facilities have taken action to keep residents and staff as safe as possible by restricting these group activities and promoting social separation and if necessary, isolation.

There are several steps many facilities have taken that may well become common place in the years and decades ahead. These include:

  • Free access to online tours, concerts, online college classes
  • Entertainment and exercise videos
  • Game nights while maintaining social separation
  • Access to technology like iPads, smartphones, computers to help them connect with loved ones via FaceTime, Skype, or a similar application

Other common sense procedures will help maintain quality care and protect both long-term care residents, caregivers, and other staff. These include:

  • Keeping six feet of physical distancing for social separation to avoid viral infection
  • Checking the temperature of all resident for frequently to catch infections early
  • Checking staff, vendors, and staff or visual signs of infection and taking temperature to see if they are running a fever
  • Maintaining a supply of personal protective equipment and make sure everyone uses these masks and other and other PPE

More American Families Will Face Long-Term Care Crisis

The fact is the need for long-term care will continue to grow in the decades ahead. Our longevity is a double-edged sword.  The need for American families to prepare for the financial costs and related burdens of aging needs to be an essential part of retirement planning. 

"I do think more people will begin to realize the importance of having a solid retirement plan, and the demand for good Long-Term Care Insurance policies will grow," explained Novy who sees the benefits of having an advance plan for long-term care in place before retirement.

"My clients with Long-Term Care Insurance are more likely to get help earlier, which often leads to a quality life for both the client and the family," said added.

Novy says a Long-Term Care Insurance policy gives the person options when they need care.  Individuals will have the resources to be able to stay in their own homes, which, for most people, is preferable.

Expect the Unexpected – Prepare Family and Finances for Long-Term Care

The truth is uncertain times and unexpected events are a part of life and are not predictable. Even with a robust economy, an unexpected event can create losses in your 401(k) and other accounts. If your need for long-term care happens during one of these downturns, your money may not go very far. Your losses are locked in once you sell assets.

The guaranteed benefits of affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will offer you tax-free resources so you will have access to your choice of quality care where-ever you may want to receive it. You will have control and independence while you enjoy asset protection.

Plus, never forget the stress and burden a long-term care event will have on your family.

Start expecting the unexpected. Prepare your family and your finances for your future need for long-term care services. Safeguard your savings and protect your lifestyle and legacy. Be sure to plan for your longevity before you retire, ideally in your 40s or 50s, when you enjoy good health.

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About the Author

Linda Kople is a freelance writer with a personal family history in long-term care. She specializes in aging-related topics such as caregiving, health, and retirement planning. Her experiences and interests drive her to explore and write about the various aspects of aging and health issues.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

If you have children, you probably don't want to place the future responsibility and burden of caregiving on them. Being a caregiver is very challenging and can adversely affect their own families, careers, and even their health. 

If your family doesn't live nearby, this makes caregiving or managing paid care services more difficult. If you don't have children, a Long-Term Care policy can ensure you have access to your choice of quality care either in your home or in a quality facility. The case manager can become your advocate, as well.

Your Health is Key to Planning

The underwriting criteria varies between insurance companies. When you apply for a Long-Term Care policy, you will have to answer several health questions. To obtain accurate quotes, you will also answer detailed questions about your health and family history. 

Ideally, you want to obtain coverage when you enjoy good health. You might even qualify for good health discounts. If you are already receiving care in your home or if you live in a care facility, you would be ineligible for coverage. 

Some policies offer coverage for those with some health issues. A Long-Term Care specialist can help you determine your eligibility based on your health history.

Use an LTC Insurance Specialist to Find the Right Plan

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist when researching long-term care planning. The American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance, a national trade, and advocacy group, recommends that this person should work for several of the top companies, understand underwriting and policy design, and have enough clients over a period of time to have the experience necessary to make the proper recommendations.

A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will genuinely be an advisor reviewing your specific information and help you find the appropriate coverage that fits your needs, concerns, and budget. 

Find a trusted specialist by clicking here.

LTC NEWS Tools Help with Research

You should start your research by finding your state on the LTC News Map. You can discover the current and future cost of care services, the availability of tax incentives and partnership program plans, and other critical information. Access the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator by clicking here.

Bear in mind, Long-Term Care Insurance is custom designed and has many options. Your specialist will match you, your age, and your health with the best company to find you the most affordable coverage.

Premiums can vary between insurance companies, even for the same coverage. Unlike what you may have read in the past, today's Long-Term Care Insurance is very affordable and rate stable. Plus, several types of products are available, including hybrid or asset-based plans, spousal shared plans, and more. 

Remember, we know longevity is a significant factor in needing extended care at some point in our lifetime. Unanticipated world or national events also influence our retirement accounts and other assets. The guaranteed benefits of affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will safeguard your savings and income and reduce the stress on those you love.

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