Long-term care costs continue to increase. In some cases, they outpace inflation. Some of these long-term care costs are associated with direct medical attention, such as is received in nursing homes. Nursing homes are one of the most expensive options outside of a hospital setting, yet growing numbers of seniors and disabled adults may do well in a more affordable and comfortable option.
Home care as well as community services have been increasing in scope, breadth, and reputation and recent years. While there are certainly myths and misconceptions surrounding home care support services among the general public, more people are understanding the value these services offer.
Home care aides, including visiting nurses, can help aging seniors and disabled adults remain at home where they are most comfortable and help these individuals save money compared to the cost of nursing homes or lengthy hospital stays. While availability may be problematic for some, other issues can interfere with receiving quality care and support at home.
One of these may involve socioeconomic background and culture. This is where community services may help to integrate home care within certain constructs. According to The Wall Street Journal news blog, How Community Health Workers Could Create Less-Costly, Higher-Quality Care, written by Dhruv Khullar:
“Community health workers are trusted laypeople from local communities who are hired and trained by health systems to bridge the gap between patients and providers. They support patients in a variety of ways: calling to make sure they’ve taken their medications; coaching them on healthy behaviors; coordinating care across multiple doctors; scheduling transportation to clinic appointments. They often share the cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds of their patients, and thus, are intimately familiar with—and to—the communities they serve.”
With community services working in tandem with home care support providers, including aides and visiting nurses, more people may receive quality care and be more comfortable receiving that care. Whether a person benefits from community services or simply requires the support of a home care aide, the cost of that compared to other long-term care facilities is significantly lower.
These lowered costs are more appealing to states grappling with budget deficits and struggling to raise more funds to pay for other costlier options. Community health workers are popular in other countries where there is a shortage of trained medical professionals.
While home care aides may not be in a position to provide direct medical care, when combined with community services, they could help open a pathway to increased support for millions of aging and disabled adults across the country.