SPRINGFIELD, Ill., June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Illinois' rank as 15th across the nation when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents shows significant improvement. However, AARP warns more must be done to protect the rights of older individuals living in the state. This, according to a new, comprehensive state-by-state Scorecard from AARP with support of the nation's leading organizations behind quality long-term care, The Commonwealth Fund and SCAN Foundation.
Raising Expectations 2014: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers – an update of the inaugural 2011 Scorecard – ranks each state overall and within 26 performance indicators along five key dimensions: affordability and access; choice of setting and provider; quality of life and quality of care; support for family caregivers; and, effective transitions. New indicators this year include length of stay in nursing homes and use of anti-psychotic drugs by nursing homes, raising serious concerns about the quality of institutional care.
"The vast majority of older Illinoisans want to live independently, at home, as they age – most with the help of unpaid family caregivers," says Bob Gallo, state director of AARP Illinois, which serves 1.7 million members age 50 and older in Illinois. "Although progress has been made to protect older residents, this Scorecard shows we have more to do – and we don't have time to stand idle."
Today, unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older Illinoisans, in part because the cost of long-term care remains unaffordable for most middle income families. In Illinois, more than 2.4 million residents help their aging parents, spouses and other loved ones stay at home by providing assistance with bathing and dressing, transportation, finances, complex medical tasks like wound care and injections, and more. The value of this unpaid care totals about $18 billion.
"When it comes to helping older Illinoisans live in the setting of their choice, this silent army of family caregivers assumes the lion's share of responsibility," explains Gallo. "Many juggle full-time jobs with their caregiving duties; others provide 24/7 care for their loved ones. They do this with little support or acknowledgment. This is why AARP Illinois has pursued policy to give caregivers assistance and training to support their loved ones when they are discharged from hospitals."
AARP Illinois strongly supports Senate Bill 3304, sponsored by Sen. Chapin Rose. The legislation gives training to caregivers when their loved ones are discharged from hospitals.
According to the state Scorecard, if Illinois improved its performance to the level of the highest-performing state:
- 59,317 more low- or moderate-income (<250% poverty) adults age 21+ with activity of daily living disabilities would be covered by Medicaid.
- 5,593 more new users of Medicaid LTSS would first receive services in home and community based settings instead of nursing homes.
- 19,067 nursing home residents with low care needs would instead be able to receive LTSS in the community.
- 4,090 more people entering nursing homes would be able to return to the community within 100 days
- 4,796 more people who have been in a nursing home for 90 days or more would be able to move back to the community.
The single strongest predictor of a state's long-term care system is the reach of its Medicaid long-term care safety net. That's why AARP also fought to expand services provided at home and in the community, by shifting funds away from undesirable, low quality, and more expensive nursing home care.
Of the 26 Scorecard indicators, 13 may be improved through state policy changes, pointing to the importance of AARP's multi-state advocacy campaign, launched this year, to help older Americans live independently, at home, and the family caregivers that support them. Currently, 42 states are advocating as part of the campaign, including Illinois.
Long-term care (also called long-term services and supports) is a diverse set of services designed to help older people and those with disabilities; services can be provided in a person's home, in a community setting such as an adult day center, or in a group residential facility like a nursing home.
The full state Scorecard, along with an interactive map of state rankings and information, is available at www.longtermscorecard.org.
SOURCE AARP Illinois