Study Looks at Home Care to Nursing Home in Mass

The Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts/Boston this month released a study on Massachusetts’ Home Care Programs and Reasons for Discharge into Nursing Homes. The study, which was partially funded by Mass Home Care, looked at a program snap shot for March 2010, at which time there were 32,417 clients enrolled in the Home Care Basic program, 5,221 clients in Choices, and 4,563 clients in ECOP.

The study concluded that 13% of Home Care Basic clients, 17% of Choices clients, and 20.6% of ECOP clients were terminated from the home care programs and placed into a nursing home.  Further examination of a subset of clients and interviews with case managers indicated – as home care agencies well know – more and in many cases a more skilled level of community based services is needed to keep clients from nursing homes.   Not surprisingly the interviewed care managers call for more 24/7 care options, but the study also calls for  more help for patients with medication administration, falls risk assessment and home safety assessment and improved coordination with medical providers, especially in the area of pain management.

While there has always been a push in the state home care program against “over-medicalization” of the benefits purchased, it seems clear from this report that there may need to be movement towards supplementing homemaker and home health aide with more professional support for certain clients.

ASAP providers: Does your experience match up with this report?   Do you have comments that you would like to see reflected in feedback from the Alliance to EOEA?

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Author: Pat Kelleher

Pat Kelleher is Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

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