Now is the time to initiate preventive health care for the older adult
This letter is in regard to changing the policy for federal and state funding for in-home care for the elderly. Currently, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hasting has proposed House Resolution 54 for federal and state funding in home care services. It expresses support for federal and state financial assistance for in-home care for the elderly once it is determined that the patient is in need of in-home nursing care. Secondly, the bill proposes that better treatment and guidelines are required for students and schools who train certified nurse assistants and home health aides.Older adults (65 years of age and older) are a growing population in our society. They often have chronic illness such as arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and cognitive impairment. They are a stoic group who worked hard and want to live life to the fullest in their home. With a little help (i.e. home care aide, a home companion, follow-up by a registered nurse) they could stay in their home. Yet our health care policies are such that the for most older adults there is no financial support for these services. The elderly person has to be hospitalized to receive Medicare. Supplemental insurance follows Medicare insurance policy leads. Some elderly individuals are covered under Medicaid and considered low income.But many older adults with health care needs are left in a holding cell. Often a great number of older adults do not have the money to get help for health care services, much less prescription drugs. The majority of elderly don’t qualify for Medicaid. This gap can set the elderly individual up for failure and health crisis when acuity occurs.Hospitalization may be necessary along with a stay in an extended care facility. The costs for a home helper or companion may be less than $100 per day, whereas an ambulance ride, an emergency room visit, a hospitalization, and a stay in a long-term care facility could cost $50,000 (depending on the needs). Our society continues to “backload” our health care services with increasing health care spending as a result. A let’s- wait-and-see policy is ineffective. It is time to initiate change in an old health care policy system.
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