After The Pandemic — How Homecare Will Help Our Seniors Age In Place
The rapid spread of COVID-19 through senior-care institutions across the country has caused families to question the safety of these facilities for their loved ones.
After this pandemic, assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes will struggle to overcome distrust of their safety. As the New York Times cites, more than 174,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, representing about 34 percent of all coronavirus fatalities.¹
After seeing statistics and data like this throughout the country, it’s clear that home healthcare medical providers and home healthcare agencies are more of a necessity than ever in caring for our aging seniors outside these traditional senior housing environments.
Aging in Place Well
There are many factors to take into consideration when assessing the ability of a senior to remain in their own home.
Many seniors will see a decline in their health over time — this is where the homecare industry is critical and should be linked with assessing someone’s ability to age in place.
In order for seniors to age in place successfully, several things, such as adult day care, food and healthcare supplies delivery, durable medical equipment, telemedicine, efficient patient monitoring, and more must be evaluated.
The pandemic showed the nation just how critical our hospitals and healthcare system are, and how we need to take measures to avoid overwhelming them. The increasing number of aging baby boomers and potentially high healthcare costs will push the limits of our healthcare system, so anything we can do to keep our baby boomers healthy in the home is ideal.
Home modifications can have a significant impact on health and long-term care costs. AARP states that 87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age.² Products like grab bars, for example, can reduce the number and severity of falls that can cause huge medical costs as well as the heartbreak of personal injury. A quality homecare bed such as the Lumex Patriot Full-Electric Bed, coupled with a Lumex Select Series Mattress — both proudly manufactured in the USA — can provide a quality solution that is both comfortable for the patient and can alleviate strain for the home caregiver. Home modifications such as easy step-in showers, wider doors, better lighting, and no-step entries are all things that homecare providers should be discussing with their clients, in addition to easily-accessible durable medical equipment to help the user move about in all areas of the home.
With a well-designed home environment, we as a society can benefit by keeping our aging seniors safe in their homes, greatly reducing caregiver and home healthcare worker injuries.
Homecare and Telehealth
And while we see such a high value in quality care in the home as we move through this pandemic and for years to come, we hope that this awareness also trickles down to those making decisions that directly impact the homecare industry. Previous to the pandemic, telehealth services were mainly non-reimbursable under Medicare. After the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) relaxed the reimbursement rules for telehealth in March 2020, its use surged. By April, 43.5% of all Medicare primary care visits were being conducted through telehealth.³
Telehealth means more healthcare happening in the home, and that translates directly to more homecare industry needs.
Quality Care in the Home
CMS’s recent approval of payment for structural modifications shows that they, too, are beginning to acknowledge the important role and value that quality care in the home can play in reducing costs overall. Repositioning homecare as a comprehensive, long-term solution for quality care of our aging seniors, and its impact on reducing healthcare costs, will be critical as we continue to navigate through the pandemic.
We at Graham-Field are here to work with you while you play this influential role in our healthcare future. For more information about our products and services, please visit us at www.grahamfield.com.
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare, and primary care markets. Graham-Field product brands include Basic American Medical Products®, Everest & Jennings®, Gendron™, Grafco®, Hausted®, Intensa®, John Bunn®, Labtron®, Lumex® and Lumiscope®. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 1.770.368.4700.