Long-term elder care is one of those tasks that most only think seriously about until it is needed–either for yourself or a loved one. However, as a growing chorus of advocates are sharing, if you wait that long it is probably too late to ensure that the available care is of the best quality and does not break the bank.
To help get your mind thinking about these issues now, the Albany Times Union recently published a report from ElderBranch which shares some basic information about how New York’s elder care system matches up with others across the country. Feel free to view the entire article here.
As many know, New York spends a significant sum of public funds on various programs, including Medicaid, in order to ensure residents have access to the quality services they need, including in old age. How do those significant payments (more than any other state in the country) pay off?
Culling information from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s State Health Facts report, the group found that the steep increase in state spending does not necessarily translate into improved quality of care. For example, on average New Yorkers spend 20% more per capita on healthcare spending than other Americans. Yet, on most final metrics–incidence of cancer, development of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes–New Yorkers are no better than others across the country.
Nursing Home Bright Spot?
Conversely, one bright spot in this latest report was connected to New York nursing home care. Interestingly, skilled nursing care at these facilities may be slightly better than elsewhere, with the total number of identified deficiencies somewhat lower here than other states. The average is 7.2 deficiencies per facility in New York and 9.4 nationwide. Yet, it is premature to break out the party hats just yet. That is because recent data suggests that the quality of care of our state nursing homes is getting worse. Also, costs for this care is far higher here than elsewhere, and the deficiency figures are rather modest. It is hard to argue that the increased spending pays off in any meaningful way.
It is clear that the state still has a very long way to go before all healthcare metrics–and elder care data specifically–shows that we are getting maximum pay off for our costs. It shouldn’t be forgotten that these averages include information from some facilities that are quite good and others that a very poor. The difference between what type of support one receives is often tied directly to their available financial resources. It is just one more reminder not to postpone planning for this care. No matter what your age or current physical health, one must put details in place now to ensure you will have access to the best care available.