Home care, hospice provide key service
Our country is facing a crisis that is summed up in two numbers: 5 and 50.
They stand for the 5 percent of patients who account for 50 percent of rising health care costs that threaten to cripple federal government and states. During National Home Care and Hospice Month this November, it’s a good time to explain the benefits of home care and hospice.
In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who live in institutions like state hospitals and nursing homes, but could live successfully on their own, have a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 22-year-old law that bans discrimination on the basis of disability, to get their care at home.
Home care is an answer to that costly 5 percent of Americans who suffer from multiple, chronic conditions. By keeping them out of hospitals and in their homes, home care saves money — and supports an even greater cause.
“Home care nurses, therapists and aides are the troops in the last great civil rights battle of our time, that to guarantee people the right to get the care they need at home,” said Nadine Countryman, COO, Nurse in the House. “They combine high tech with high touch as they do what is best for the patients they serve.”
The latest data from the Department of Labor (DOL) shows that home care has boomed as America ages and the baby boomers begin entering their golden years. Registered nurses, home health aides, and personal care aides are among the top five occupations projected to see the largest increase in jobs by 2020 as more people need their services than ever before.
The Affordable Care Act has put forth several initiatives to support the elderly and individuals with disabilities in their homes. The Community First Choice Option assists states with the costs of in-home programs for people who would otherwise wind up in institutions, and the Balancing Incentive Program increases federal matching grants in states with less coverage for home and community-based services.
“In 1999, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Olmstead decision, they articulated a constitutional right to home care,” said Countryman. “The present health care system is geared toward acute care when what is needed is more coverage of chronic disease. What home care offers patients is great care that preserves their dignity in the comfort of their own homes.”
Hospice is based on the belief that every life matters and on giving state-of-the art medical care that comforts and eases pain. When medicine can add no more days to your life, hospice can add more life to your remaining days. Hospice turns illness into an inner journey by committing to the highest quality of care. Hospice uses new technologies to speed up its response to patients’ needs, gives bereavement support, and offers public education on end-of-life care.
For more information on the National Home Care and Hospice Month and Home Care Aide Week, visit www.nahc.org.
James Maize is the director of financial operations for Nurse in the House Inc., a division of Optimae Life Services.