Recent Trends in Assisted Living
National Study of Long-Term Care Providers (NSLTCP) has proven to be a groundbreaking initiative. Conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the study was put into affect to look at and monitor the diverse and ever-evolving long-term care field. Information gleaned from this study is ultimately used to help with long-term care planning and policymaking,
Referred to in the study as residential care, the NSLTCP found that assisted living is the most commonly used form of long-term care in the United States. There are approximately 30,200 assisted living communities in the United States. These communities have provided over 1,000,000 licensed beds with average of 33 licensed beds per facility. Interestingly over half (67%) serve fewer than 25 residents daily. Even with new policies designed to encourage home-based and community-based care, these assisted living homes continue to be the most popular.
Roughly 42% of assisted living communities can be found in Western states. This area is an exception to the rule with a nearly equal divide between nursing homes and assisted living communities. Additionally, the Western states have the highest capacity for adult day care services in the entire nation. States, such as Washington, Oregon, and North Dakota serve the most residents on any given day while Connecticut, D.C. and South Carolina serve the least.
The NSLTCP study also focused on the delivery of essential services. The study illustrates access to health, mental health, dental, and hospice services within the residential care community. It was found that approximately 48% provided options for social work and 52% offered mental health or counseling services, although, 83% actively screen for depression. Impressively, nearly 70% provided therapeutic services, including physical, occupational, and speech. Nearly 82% feature pharmacy or pharmacist services and 53% offer dental plans. Hospice care can be found in 61% of assisted living facilities while 22.2% offer dementia care. Services are often provided directly by the provider or by others through arrangement by the provider.
Residents that struggle with activities of daily living (ADL) often choose assisted living. Whether it is help with personal hygiene, dressing, or mobility, the staff in assisted living communities are there to help you. The study found that 62.4% of residents needed assistance with bathing , 47.4% needed help dressing, and 39.3% required help toileting. Nearly 30% of residents required staff for transferring in and out of bed and another near 30% need help walking. Interestingly, only a near 20% of residents needed assistance with eating. Eating troubles are more commonly associated with more severe conditions therefore nursing homes and hospice care are likely to report much higher numbers.
Assisted living facilities typically offer a diverse array of staff and personnel in order to meet the growing needs of their residents. At any given point, an assisted living community may have Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), aides, program directors, volunteers, and social workers. Aides refer to certified nursing assistants, home health aides, home care aides, personal care aides, personal care assistants, and medication technicians. The most common staff member in assisted living would be a personal aid, followed by activity director,RNs, and then LPN/LVNs. Surprisingly, only 10.6% of communities staffed social workers.
The exceptional presence of qualified staff members at assisted living facilities is an important benefit to choosing assisted living. High staff numbers contribute to the feeling of overall safety. Only 12.4% of residents required a trip to the emergency room and a mere 8.3% of residents were required to stay overnight in hospital. Impressively, as few as 21.1% of residents reported a fall compared to the national average of over 33.3% of seniors reporting a fall each year.
The vast majority of costs associated with residential care are handed through personal finances and out-of-pocket payment plans. Seniors are able to use private savings, veteran benefits, long-term care insurance, 401K income, IRA income, and social security income (sometimes) to help cover costs. Although residential care communities are not able to receive Medicare certification, 47.4% were authorized or certified to participate in Medicaid. Technically, Medicare does not cover costs for assisted living though some healthcare costs are covered; only 15.1% use Medicare to help cover costs
The National Study of Long-Term Care Providers offers a number of important insights into the state of long-term care services and facilities in the United States. The study was first commissioned in 2012, since its inception we have begun to track changes in long-term care that can help seniors predict future trends. Similar studies are set to be conducted on an annual basis in the years to come. With enough research and information, seniors can use statistics to help plan for their future.
About the Author: John Winfrey Jr. received his Bachelor’s in 2015 from the University of North Texas after spending much of his 20’s traveling across the country. Majoring in Marketing and minoring in Journalism gave him the experience needed to write and research important topics like senior health. Senior health especially hits home as his veteran father was a senior who eventually became deaf and blind. John had to become as familiar as he could, quickly, to provide support for his father.