Advocates have raised concerns about the availability of quality long-term care services and the available training to provide safe and compassionate care for those in facilities or receiving in-home care.
The COVID-19 virus crisis has made the dedication to quality care a focus for advocates, provers, and the care recipient's families. Adverse events in facilities do occur, but most events are preventable. There are also adverse events with in-home care, but few studies review untrained family members who provide care. However, most experts suggest the numbers are high based on hospital admissions and discharge from hospital to long-term care following an in-home health event.
"The pandemic is most heavily impacting the health of long-term care residents, disproportionately leading to serious and life-threatening illness," said Jorge Fernandez, COO, MedTrainer. MedTrainer provides tools for assisted living facilities and nursing homes to meet the training needs to ensure the safety of residents, including COVID-19 prevention and protection.
Untrained Family Caregivers Force Care Recipients into Facilities Prematurely
An LTC NEWS survey of assisted living admissions staff indicates a significant number of admissions where the care recipient was receiving in-home care provided by untrained family members who either could no longer provide adequate care or had adverse care events under their watch.
One admissions coordinator, who asked not to be identified, said that many well-intentioned family members get in 'over their head' and provide inadequate care for their loved one.
"They make the situation worse. Their heart is in the right place, but they lack the skills to provide the proper care and maintain safety, especially in a COVID-19 environment," she said.
Unlicensed In-Home Provides Often Not Properly Trained
In-home health care agencies are growing based on increased demand; however, not all in-home care providers maintain ongoing training and commitment to safety. In addition, many 'underground' home care providers lack any licensing or training.
Unlicensed in-home care providers operate virtually unchecked. They often lack any formal training or understanding of best practices and COVID-19 and other infectious diseases prevention.
Judy Basler and Sheldon Feinberg, owners at Amada Senior Care in Chester County, Pennsylvania, say that seniors are a vulnerable population, especially with COVID-19 and other viral infections that older people may be susceptible to.
"Our motto is 'Let's be healthy and safe together.' Our caregivers are 100% fully vaccinated and they remain diligent with wearing their mask, frequently washing their hands, and cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces on every shift," they said.
Kevin Fehr, Owner at Amada Senior Care Nashville, Tennessee, agrees.
"We are dedicated to training our caregivers with the proper equipment, technique, and attitude," he explained.
Home health care professionals are usually licensed practical nurses, therapists, home health aides, or certified nurse’s assistants. Every state has different requirements for both in-home providers and long-term care facility staff.
Demand for Long-Term Care Services Increasing
The demand for long-term health care is increasing dramatically as lifespans increase with advances in medical science. The result is more people need help with daily activities. In addition, we are seeing more people diagnosed with cognitive decline as a result of increased lifespan.
The declining health of their parents catches many families off guard. Typically, no conversation about long-term health care has ever taken place. Many people assume that the costs for long-term care services are paid for by health insurance or Medicare and supplements. They are not.
Medicaid will pay for long-term care services but only if you have little or no income and assets. Long-Term Care Insurance is ideal, but you can only purchase a policy when you are younger and have reasonably good health.
Demand Means Higher Costs
The increased demand for care is increasing the costs for care nationwide. Where you live, and the type of care you require will determine the financial impact on your savings.
For example, in the Philadelphia area, the care costs are increasing with the greater demand. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator says in median average cost of in-home care, based on a 44 hour week, is almost $4600 a month - Pennsylvania Long-Term Care | LTC News.
Facility costs are more expensive; the base average cost of an assisted living facility averages just over $5300 a month. Nursing home costs are now averaging over $12,000 a month. These costs can drain even large estates if a family is unprepared.
While the costs in the Nashville area are less than in Philadelphia, care is not cheap. In-home care averages $3800 a month, assisted living averages $4500 a month (base cost), and nursing homes average over $7500 a month - Tennessee Long-Term Care | LTC News.
LTC Insurance = Choice of Quality Care
One way to ensure quality care and choice is by owning a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. An LTC Insurance policy is a critical part of an overall retirement plan, according to experts. The guaranteed tax-free resources will help fund the choice of care in the setting you desire. Your loved ones will have time to be family instead of being burdened with the role of a caregiver.
The problem with insurance is you cannot buy a policy 'when you need it. You must purchase a policy when your health is reasonably good. Today, most people who purchase Long-Term Care Insurance are in their 50s - Majority of LTC Insurance Buyers are in Their 50s | LTC News.
No matter, the focus is on quality and safety. Not only do you want your older family members to receive quality care, but you will also want that for yourself in the decades ahead.
About the Author
Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.
Contributor since October 31st, 2017
You will want quality long-term care for yourself when you need care decades from now. Don't depend on untrained and unprepared family members who have their own lives and families.
Make affordable Long-Term Care Insurance part of your retirement planning. You will have access to quality care options, including in-home care. You will safeguard your income and assets and maintain your lifestyle and legacy.
But you must plan now when you still enjoy good health. Ideally, the best time is in your 40s or 50s, but you can find options at other ages if you enjoy good health. Every insurance company has its own underwriting criteria. A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will be able to match your age and health with the most affordable company.
Research Tools on LTC NEWS
You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Power of Reverse Mortgages
There are many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now.
Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
Looking for Quality Caregivers? Need Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim?
If a loved one already needs in-home care or owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and needs assistance filing the claim, LTC NEWS is here to help.
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.
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