BATON ROUGE, La., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- When faced with managing the care of an aging or ill family member, a new survey shows that Americans want to keep their loved ones close to home. According to a national telephone poll conducted by Harris Interactive for Amedisys, a leading provider of home care and hospice services (Nasdaq: AMED), 74 percent of Americans would prefer having a terminally ill family member taken care of at home with the care of a trained health aide, rather than in a traditional nursing home or other care facility. In comparison, only 10 percent would prefer a nursing home and six percent would choose an outpatient center. The poll also found that when considering care for an elderly family member recuperating from surgery, half (51 percent) would prefer home health care over any other facility.
The survey was conducted as part of Amedisys' Annual Home Care Matters Initiative around National Home Care and Hospice Month, a national month of recognition across the industry, which takes place each November.
The poll results show that Americans have a preference for home care for themselves, as well. If faced with chronic medical care, terminal illness or surgery recuperation, the overwhelming majority of Americans would prefer home health care versus off-site care at a nursing home, rehabilitation or outpatient center. The poll found that 65 percent of respondents would prefer home health care for themselves while recuperating from surgery, while 75 percent would prefer it for themselves if they were in the final stage of a terminal illness.
Home health care is identified as a valuable resource for families
Survey respondents said they are already providing some sort of care for their loved ones: one-in-five poll respondents (19 percent) reported that they are coordinating or assisting with home care for a spouse or elderly family member, and according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 43 percent of those providing care are 50 years of age or older, and 61 percent of family caregivers are women.
According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, the annual economic value of these types of unpaid care giving activities is an astounding $354 billion.
"Home health care assists these familial caregivers in being more effective in managing a loved one's illness which provides a significant cost and family stress relief benefit," says Michael Fleming, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Amedisys. "The home health industry can help produce better health outcomes for patients if more people, doctors included, were better educated about health care at home options."
And, the number of family members caring for sick loved ones is expected to grow: more than one-third (34 percent) of respondents to the Harris poll anticipate that they will have to do so within the next five years. Not surprisingly, respondents felt that home health care is a critical part of the continuum of care. Eighty-eight percent of those polled felt that home health care could be considered a valuable resource for themselves, their family members and future generations.
Home care plays a critical role in managing the age tsunami
According to 2008 figures, approximately 7.6 million Americans receive care at home for a variety of conditions. Recent studies show that the average home care patient has changed considerably during the past few years, with an increase in patients requiring major rehabilitation needs. In fact, a 2007 report from the Centers for Disease Control showed that 80 percent of older adults had at least one chronic condition and two-thirds of all health care costs are spent on chronic disease management. With the graying of the American population – and the clear preference for care at home – the demand for home care and hospice is only expected to grow.
"As the population ages, home health and hospice care is going to become increasingly important as an alternative to hospital or nursing home care. And it's a service that Americans clearly want," said Amedisys Chief Executive Officer William Borne. "Over the next ten years, home health care has the potential to save $31 billion dollars in Medicare costs. As we progress into the role of chronic care management, the home health and hospice industry has an important role to play in the future of health care."
Other survey findings:
- Currently, 25 percent of those polled provide some type of financial support to an elderly family member, and 38 percent anticipate having to do so within the next five years.
- Regionally, those in the South (43 percent), the West (44 percent), and Northeast (38 percent) are more likely than those in the Midwest (26 percent) to provide financial support within the next five years.
- Half (49 percent) of Americans would be angry and an additional one-third (33 percent) would be disappointed if home health care was not an available care option to them.
The Harris Poll National Quorum® was conducted by telephone within the United States between August 4 -8, 2010 among 1,006 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, number of adults in the household, and number of phone lines in the household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.
Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) is the nation's leading health care company focused on bringing home the continuum of care. Each day Amedisys delivers personalized health care services to more than 35,000 individual patients and their families, in the comfort of patients' homes. Amedisys has two divisions, home health care and hospice. The Company's state-of-the-art advanced chronic care management programs and leading-edge technology enables it to deliver quality care based upon the latest evidence-based best practices. Amedisys is a recognized innovator, being the first in the industry to equip its clinicians with point-of-care laptop technology and referring physicians with an internet portal that enables real-time coordination of patient care seamlessly. Amedisys also has the industry's first-ever nationwide Care Transitions program. Amedisys Care Transitions is designed to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions through patient and caregiver health coaching and care coordination, which starts in the hospital and continues throughout completion of the patient's home health plan of care. For more information about the Company, please visit: www.amedisys.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
SOURCE Amedisys, Inc.