Archive for 'LTC Trends'

Poll Finds Californians Fear Long-Term Care Costs

Posted on 26. May, 2010 by .

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Californians may not be the only ones with long-term care on their minds.

With the passing of the new health care law comes a new study that says two-thirds of registered California voters are anxious about the costs of long term care, announces the SCAN Foundation and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The results of the poll showed that 58 percent of the voters age 40 and older said they feel unprepared to pay for services if they could no longer care for themselves independently and needed long term care. A significant majority of participants (75 percent) who are currently providing help to family or friends are worried about long term care, as are 74 percent those who anticipate providing help in the near future.

The worries are shared by all political parties and income levels, including 63 percent of those reporting annual incomes of $75,000 and above, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research reports in a press release.

“Caring for a loved one is a nonpartisan issue that cuts across income levels,” said Dr. Bruce Chernof, M.D., president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, in the release. He reiterates that the foundation’s goal is mainly to increase awareness of the different options for accessible and affordable long-term care services.

Nevertheless, some people point to a loophole in California’s state policy that needs resolving. Presently, the law requires Californians to spend down their assets to $2,000 and have a near-poverty income after paying for medical expenses before the state steps in to help.

“You shouldn’t have to go broke to get help,” Steven P. Wallace, PhD, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research maintains in the press release. “Yet that is what our public policy currently requires in order to get any public help with in-home or nursing home care. As the number of older Californians grows rapidly in the coming years, the policy challenge for our leaders is how to help them age with dignity in their own homes.”

Chernof encourages legislators to consider including long term care in their policy platforms.

Other findings from the poll (view complete results here) reveal that Californians over 40 years and older:

  • cannot afford in-home care;
  • cannot afford nursing home care;
  • expressed concerns – across party lines – about affordability;
  • rarely have long term care insurance;
  • are not aware Medicare doesn’t cover long term care; and
  • say long term care should be a priority for state leaders.

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Create Crystal Clear Phone and Preauthorized Orders With These Tips

Posted on 23. May, 2010 by .

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A standing physician’s order can help or hurt depending on whether you have these controls in place.

You can manage many conditions in the nursing home with telephone and standing orders. But your facility should take steps to ensure that these types of orders improve rather than imperil resident care, stresses a white paper developed by the American Health Care Association in conjunction with the American Medical Directors Association.

Start with the who:  State regulations and facility policies dictate who can receive the telephone or verbal orders, says Shehla Rooney, a physical therapist and consultant in Cookeville, Tenn.

And the person writing a verbal order should “clearly and correctly identify the ordering practitioner,” including the correctly spelled name and credentials, such as MD or NP, advises the white paper. Also include the date and time you write the order.

Beware: Make sure the person providing a phone order has authority to do so, advises Clare Hendrick, a nurse practitioner and principal of ProTime in San Clemente, Calif. She has encountered situations where a nurse calls the doctor and gets orders from a clerical person or medical assistant who hasn’t consulted with the physician to obtain the order. Do this: The nursing staff person should read back a verbal order to the practitioner to make sure he or she transcribed it correctly, advises the white paper.

Also: “Each state has its own requirement for when physicians have to sign and date phone orders,” says Marilyn Mines, RN, RAC-CT, BC, manager of clinical services for F&R Healthcare Consulting Inc. in Deerfield, Ill. “In Illinois, it’s within 10 days of the physician giving the phone order.”

Documentation tip: When a nurse does obtain a phone order, she should document in the clinical record that she discussed the situation with the physician — “and based on the following assessments, etc., the physician wrote the order,” advises Mines. Then reference the order on the physician order sheet, she adds.

Read the rest of this article in Long-Term Care Survey Alert, Vol. 12, No. 2. You an read the article online immediately when you subscribe.

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