Rethinking Eldercare Services
Along with navigating the challenges of having sufficient income to support retirement, most older adults will need supportive services to recover from periods of illness or other temporary setbacks, and many will have chronic medical conditions that result in gradually worsening disability. Some of us will require hundreds of thousands of dollars in long-term care services over an extended period. Whatever the pattern, a mix of health care and supportive services tailored to individual needs and preferences is the goal.
But our care delivery system isn’t there yet, and exogenous factors, including Covid-19, are producing major impacts and creating new challenges. Against this backdrop, we face questions: For example, how we can adapt current payment and service delivery programs and models to do a better job of organizing high-quality services? How can we provide services that older adults with disabilities need at a cost they can afford? How can society use existing programs to more efficiently plan for and organize services for a fast-rising elderly population? Other priorities include how we can improve the residential long-term care sector so that it is both as safe as possible, while offering elders a good quality of life, and how to expand capacity to offer home and community-based services for tens of millions of Americans who aspire to age in place.
Working with partners around the country, Altarum offers a range of specialists and analysts working on quality improvement, policy initiatives and models of reform that highlight best practices and how they can be more widely implemented. The Program to Improve Eldercare has deep roots in designing and facilitating policy change, and in leveraging policy to help create broad public commitment to high-quality care.
Here’s some of what we work on:
- Wider implementation of comprehensive culture change in nursing homes;
- Expanded volunteer help for family caregivers, older adults, and individuals with disabilities living in community settings;
- Policy initiatives that incentivize states to implement more robust home and community-based services systems for older adults and individuals with disabilities;
- Broadening service delivery options for older adults with disabilities; and
- Creating measures and indicators that track how well providers are serving elders living in a given geographic area.