Your AARP ; Indiana News
Alternatives would be spelled out
Long-Term Care Options
After her husband spent 14 months in a nursing home, Naomi Clark had enough. Paralyzed on his left
side from a stroke, Douglas Clark was not
getting the care she felt he needed.
“I was there most of the time providing 75
percent of the work,” Naomi, 76, said, patting her husband’s right foot as he dozed in
their Muncie home.
“I asked them why they couldn’t do more
More information about choices
and was told they didn’t have enough help
for all the patients. So I told them to get the
paperwork started. I was taking him home.”
Now, three years later, Clark realizes she
could have started home care sooner had
she known about other options such as the
in-home care from a service that provides an
aide for six hours each day.
Next year the Indiana General Assembly will
consider a bill that would help people like the
Clarks better understand options for long-term care for their loved ones.
The legislation would require hospitals
to provide lists and contact information
about nearby long-term care choices,
A case manager from a local Area Agency
on Aging (AAA) would provide similar in-
formation during preadmission screening
for nursing homes; nursing home person-
nel would be required to supply the infor-
mation shortly after a person is admitted.
In addition, patients or their caregivers
would be eligible to receive a free assess-
ment, conducted by a case manager from
one of Indiana’s 16 nonprofit AAA offices,
about the patient’s ability to live in the
“Making these decisions may be among
the hardest Hoosiers will ever face,” said
Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, the bill’s
author. “This legislation may just prevent
some institutionalization of patients who
really don’t need it.”
An AARP Public Policy Institute report
issued in September found that Indiana
ranked 47th out of the 50 states and the
District of Columbia for long-term services
and supports for older adults and people
with disabilities and family caregivers. The
analysis also said the average annual cost of
care in an Indiana nursing home is $75,600,
but, in comparison, it costs $29,640 a year
for 30 hours of home health care per week.
“We pay all this money in Medicaid
funding to keep people in long-term care
facilities when it would be less expensive
to keep them at home,” said Vickie Beeson,
owner of Senior Helpers, a home-care services business in Greenfield.
For years, AARP has advocated shifting
Medicaid long-term care funds away from
nursing homes and into home- and community-based services, for the cost savings and
because most older people say they want to
age at home, not in an institution.
“We need to level the playing field, putting long-term home- and community-based care on an equal footing with nursing
facilities,” said Orion Bell IV, president of
CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions, the
AAA in central Indiana.
Hoosiers prefer care at home
A 2010 survey of AARP members in Indiana found that 83 percent would prefer to
receive long-term care at home.
Many people do not plan for long-term
care until something—such as a fall—forces
them to make a choice.
“Often such decisions are made during a
crisis, and the family has little time to decide
on the kind of care needed after discharge
from the hospital,” said Paul Chase, AARP
Indiana associate director for public policy.
That’s what Naomi Clark faced when her
husband, now 78, had two strokes in 2007.
“I was in a fog. I didn’t know what to do.”
Becker’s bill was passed by the Senate in
the 2011 legislative session but was not con-
sidered by the House. She predicted quick
action in the 2012 General Assembly.
—By David Allen
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