Hike in U.S. nursing home costs burden older Americans – A Patient Management Opportunity?
A six-year study by Georgetown University Medical Center revealed that nursing home prices are increasing at a fast rate across America. Rising wage pressure due to high demand for nursing home employees is driving up costs.
Dr. Sean Huang, the study’s lead author, said that they were referring to the long stays- people who have disabilities, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Medicare doesn’t cover that. Patients will pay out of pocket until they use all of their wealth.
Many Americans are clueless about how Medicare works, including those approaching retirement. Eligibility for the program, a sort-of government health insurance policy primarily for older Americans, usually starts at age 65 and it covers some of the costs of routine and emergency medical care. But, it doesn’t cover most aspects of long-term “custodial” care- included in nursing homes, where large number of Americans may spend the last years of their lives.
For people who qualify for nursing home admission, Medicaid requires that they exhaust most of their assets before they qualify for coverage. It has been revealed in a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that nursing homes have long been a financial burden for most who need them. It constitutes one of the greatest risks retirees face when they manage their retirement funds.
The annual costs for nursing home care is set to grow at a rate faster than inflation, according to Urban Institute Senior Fellow Richard W. Johnson.
As the population of elderly Americans grows there will be more demand for nursing home care and nursing home employees too. Wages are bound to go up, and this cost will be passed on to consumers.
Johnson said that the baby-boom generation is so large and they are approaching their 80s, which means that many more of them will be needing nursing home care and other types of long-term care.
Telehealth solutions and remote patient monitoring could ease this situation by allowing to connect caregivers, supporting family members, and the medical care staff. Lifecycle Health’s telehealth features, patient engagement software and application provide features like SMS notifications, telehealth video calls, remote monitoring of health and care across patient continuum that saves financial resources of patients, which is important for seniors. This reduces the cost of healthcare thus, they can manage retirement finances efficiently.
They get care at the right time at an extremely low cost. When their health is monitored continuously, need for emergencies and critical care reduces thus, reducing the hiked demand for nursing home care.
Patient care continuum tracking will keep providers updated about the patient’s health across patient care continuum – which with these conditions is very convenient and important for caregiver and family support participants. This helps to monitor patients at each “stop” along the care continuum and coordinate with other provider specialists. The quality of care improves as the providers would know when the patient is on or off-track and when they need the provider’s help thus, reducing the chances of an emergency.
With telehealth secure videos, medical specialists can communicate with patients, through video eVisits as well as share images, pictures and annotate images during key visits. Remote visits are possible from the nursing home, or in a local clinic environment. This facility is available on both PC or laptop via internet browser or via mobile phone or tablet technologies. So, senior Americans don’t have to spend resources traveling to hospitals and multiple clinics from nursing homes, and nursing homes do not have the added risks and activities for discharge and readmission as well, which are very costly.
Patient-provider communication is also possible through secured text messages. Providers can monitor patient’s progress, pain level and gather feedback or problems along their continuum. This lowers the readmission risks and improves the quality of care, but just as important and possibly more important for these patient conditions – the family support and caregivers can more easily communicate and gain visibility to their loved-ones situation, and interact much more easily. Nursing homes could make a very positive impact to their provider ratings from families and patients.
Patient Management solutions with telehealth and patient monitoring can reduce cost of healthcare, especially for seniors, and positively impact the patient experiences. The challenge of a hike in nursing home costs can be faced through this patient-friendly and provider-friendly technology.