Why Home Healthcare is Replacing Traditional Nursing Services and What it Means for Seniors.
Each day, some 10,000 seniors turn 65 in the United States, and in 2019, people older than 65 years will outnumber those younger than five. The majority of seniors are hoping to age gracefully in the comfort of their own homes. But, as Americans age and live longer, increasing numbers of them will live with multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes or dementia, and functional impairments, such as difficulty with the basics of life like mobility and managing one’s household.
The effect of these chronic conditions on spending is massive: Estimates suggest that chronic illness accounts for three quarters of total national health care expenditures. As the number of older beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions continues to rise, providing care in the most effective and efficient setting will become even more critical.
Because of this, the demand for home health-care workers — from nurses to aides and caregivers – has skyrocketed in recent years and is expected to only increase for at least a decade.
“The demand for home care and hospice continues to grow as we see a graying of the U.S. population,” said Bill Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, adding that both younger and older patients are pivoting ever more toward in-home care. “The shift has also been in financing from government sources — primarily through Medicare and Medicaid. In 2015, it was the first time nationally that more money was spent on home care than nursing home care. We’ve seen a culture and financing shift toward home and community-based care.” – Source CNBC
One of the greatest health care challenges facing our country is ensuring that older Americans who often suffer from serious chronic illness due to aging can remain as independent as possible.
Our success with this challenge will help ensure that Americans age with dignity in a manner that meets their expectations, preferences and care needs. The financial health of our federal and state governments also hangs in the balance.
To meet this challenge will require integrating home-based health care and its related services, into the overall health care system.
The Medicare program began to emphasize achievement of the “Triple Aim” in 2009. A framework initially conceived by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, but now almost universally accepted in health care policy and delivery, the Triple Aim has focused efforts to innovate in the Medicare program and has propelled considerable change. The Triple Aim declares that to improve the U.S. health care system, it is vital to pursue three goals simultaneously:
- Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction);
- Improving the health of populations; and
- Reducing the per capita cost of health care.
The Triple Aim has been used by policy makers and other leaders in health care delivery to focus their goals in reforming the health care delivery system.
However, until home based care is fully integrated into our healthcare system many seniors will be left relying on expensive hospital stays and outpatient treatment facilities to help manage their chronic illness.