Eldercare is a concern for everyone. Making sure seniors get the best care is challenging in every situation. Unfortunately, for elders in Kentucky it can be even more challenging. A state-by-state assessment performed by the AARP created a scorecard ranking Kentucky smack bottom, with an overall rank of 51. Within specific subareas, the best Kentucky managed was 42nd in “effective transitions.” The other dimensions considered by the assessment were for affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life, quality of care, and support for family caregivers.
Almost everybody prefers to live at home as they get older, and most home care is provided by unpaid family caregivers. Kentucky lags in how much Medicaid support is provided for care at home, rather than a nursing home, and the scorecard highlights this as an area where the state can make improvements. The AARP in Kentucky along with other organizations has worked to rewrite a waiver that will increase the ability to receive care in a home setting.
Of course, sometimes care in an institutional setting is the best solution to meet an elder’s needs. Unfortunately, the quality of care in these settings was also rated low in Kentucky. Kentucky rated 50 when the assessment considered factors such as the number of residents with pressure sores, how many residents were in restraints, staff turnover, and other related factors.
Plans for Improvement
Fortunately, there are a number of plans to improve Kentucky’s scores– and more importantly– improve the services and treatment of Kentucky’s elders.
A study is planned to review existing caregiver programs to identify new ways to support them. The AARP and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services are rewriting the Home and Community Based Services waiver. This will allow elders and caregivers at home to receive long-term services and support. The waiver will support independence by allowing residents to choose their case manager and make their own decisions about which services are required. It will also ensure that the first priority is to keep seniors in their own homes.
An Urgent Need
The state of Kentucky is aging faster than the national average, making improving care available to elders a critical priority. Today, 81% of care is spent on institutions with the remaining 19% spent on community-based programs. Many community programs have waiting lists, some stretching out as long as five years. While challenging, many of the changes needed to improve conditions can be addressed by policy changes within the state. This gives hope that action will be taken to improve the care and support available to elderly and disabled Kentucky residents.
If you or someone you love is suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC. We will provide you with a free consultation, review your situation, inform you of your legal rights and options, and work to help you or your loved one seek the compensation to which you may be entitled.