June 20, 2014

How good are the long-term care services in your state?

Daily Briefing

Minnesota, Washington, and Oregon provide the best long-term care services in the country, according to a report from AARP, the SCAN Foundation, and the Commonwealth Fund.

The states' scores were based on 26 quality metrics, including:

  • Affordability and access;
  • Choice of setting and provider;
  • Quality of life and care;
  • Support for family caregivers; and
  • Effective transitions.

According to the scorecard, the 10 top-scoring states were:

    1. Minnesota
    2. Washington
    3. Oregon
    4. Colorado
    5. Alaska
    6. Hawaii
    6. Vermont
    8. Wisconsin
    9. California
    10. Maine

Landis: Why post-acute care providers are trying to be 'one-stop shops'

Meanwhile, the five lowest-ranking states were:

    1. Kentucky
    2. Alabama
    3. Mississippi
    4. Tennessee
    5. Indiana

AARP senior vice president Susan Reinhard notes that each state improved in some way from the previous report card, which was issued in 2011.

According to the report, family members are increasingly performing medical tasks, like treating wounds or administering injections. And some states have passed laws allowing nurses to train caregivers to perform such tasks at patients' home.

The care team member we often forget

However, the report found that no state had affordable home health care or nursing home care for most middle-class families. Specifically, the study found that home care would require 84% of the income of an average older middle-income family, while nursing home care would requires about 246% of such a family's income.

Reinhard says the study aims to help states improve and get ready for an influx of long-term care patients from the baby boomer generation as the number of home health workers is expected to decline in the coming years (Jaffe, "Shots," NPR, 6/19; Bouchard, Portland Press Herald, 6/19; Townsend, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/19) .

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