Recently the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, declared that he wanted to move several thousands of individuals covered by Medicaid fund from nursing home environments into home care. Read Article…
He determined the savings could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars every year. It’s a potential win for the individuals who may be able to return to a home environment for care – a clear preference for the majority of Americans.
Meanwhile, less than a year ago the journal Health Services Research reported on a study that showed that individuals receiving services and support at home experience many more preventable hospitalizations than those living in nursing home – at a substantial cost to the government’s checkbook. The Forbes article that discusses this dilemma points out that this not a simple correlation, but rather a complex one with many variables.
One of the key equalizers is caregiver training, both for the home care providers and for family caregivers. Teaching direct care providers what to watch for and how best to communicate even small changes to their supervisor or the person’s healthcare provider can have a big impact on hospitalization rates. Family caregivers who are armed with training and support can become a powerful part of the prevention team, too.
When caregivers are empowered with this knowledge they can spot and report changes in condition quickly, often avoiding costly hospital care. Who better to notice the smallest change than the caregiver who spends consist, frequent time with the person?
Clearly cost issues will continue to determine public policy as we are faced with a higher proportion of elders and fewer healthcare resources in the future. Now is the time for the home care provider to start tracking their own client hospitalization rates and investing in training for their team in strategies to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. With the variety of training options available, including access to over 500 training resources here at the Institute for Professional Care Education, we can show that home care is both a preference and a safe, economical alternative.