A social services pilot program designed by HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) is aimed at determining the value that receiving healthcare services at home can offer aging and disabled seniors. The focus of this program is to find out how effective it can be at not only providing an option for aging seniors to remain home, but to also reduce long-term health care costs in the country.
The pilot program is not available to all seniors, but specifically to those who are considered lower income and who live in affordable housing communities. The intention is to help them stay out of hospitals more often and that generally requires support at home.
As noted by The Morning Call in its blog, On-site health care could help seniors stay at home, written by Teresa Wiltz:
“The program works to deliver health care services to low-income seniors in affordable housing developments so they stay out of emergency rooms and nursing homes. Participants get an individualized plan to improve their health, such as taking fall-prevention classes or working on weight loss or getting signed up for mental health care.
The pilot program brings service coordinators and health care workers to federally subsidized senior housing developments operated by nonprofits at sites in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and South Carolina.”
It’s unclear during this pilot program whether these types of services will be scaled to a national level of if it will end with a proverbial whimper. If HUD does not renew the program next year, many low income seniors will find it difficult if not impossible to afford in home health care moving forward.
The article also noted:
“If HUD doesn’t renew the pilot program after the money runs out next year, it will be difficult to find money for it in the private health market, according to Alisha Sanders, director of housing and services policy research at the LeadingAge LTSS Center at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.”
Currently, the model looks promising as it’s helping aging men and women avoid costlier hospital and emergency room visits while also helping them stay on top of their health issues. Information is a critical component of proper care. So is direct medical support from doctors and nurses.
A program such as this could directly support the in-home health care sector, providing more agencies the chance to support aging clients and offer the services they require. If the program ends, though, many aging Americans who are part of the baby boomer generation will likely struggle to maintain good health and vitality unless they depend on less cost-efficient systems, like those emergency room visits.
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