A new long-term care manifesto

Robert L. Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article argues for a fresh look at how we provide long-term care (LTC) for older persons. Essentially, LTC offers a compensatory service that responds to frailty. Policy debate around LTC centers on costs, but we are paying for something we really don't want. Building societal enthusiasm (or even support) for LTC will require re-inventing and re-branding. LTC has three basic components: personal care, housing, and health care (primarily chronic disease management). They can be delivered in a variety of settings. It is rare to find all three done well simultaneously. Personal care (PC) needs to be both competent and compassionate. Housing must provide at least minimal amenities and foster autonomy; when travel time for PC raises costs dramatically, some form of clustered housing may be needed. Health care must be proactive, aimed at preventing exacerbations of chronic disease and resultant hospitalizations. Enhancing preferences means allowing taking informed risks. Payment incentives should reward both quality of care and quality of life, but positive outcomes must be defined as slowing decline. Paying for services but not for housing under Medicaid would automatically level the playing field between nursing homes (NH) and community-based services. Regulations should achieve greater parity between NH and community care and include both positive and negative feedback. Providing post-acute care should be separate from LTC. Using the tripartite LTC framework, we can create innovative flexible approaches to providing needed services for frail older persons in formats that are both desirable and affordable. Such care will be more socially desirable and hence worth paying for.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
JournalGerontologist
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Autonomy
  • Choice
  • Chronic care
  • Consumer direction
  • Housing
  • Nursing homes
  • Personal care

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