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Originally Posted September 15, 2023Long-term care facilities, also referred to as Nursing Homes Working to improve the quality of care for elderly residents, the Biden Administration has given CMS the authority to implement new regulations that mandate nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid to maintain minimum staffing levels and promote transparency. Outlined in a report from The White House, the new regulations target the long-standing concerns of understaffing and the impact it has on the quality of life and care of vulnerable residents in nursing homes. In this blog, we will discuss implications of the new rules and their potential to make an impact on long term care in the United States. Understaffing ProblemFor years understaffing has been an ongoing issue in U.S. nursing homes, with consequences being inadequate care to elderly neglect and abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic called attention to the vulnerabilities our loved ones face in these facilities, over 200.000 lives were lost in long-term care facilities (npr.org), which prompted a call for systemic change. As nursing homes struggled to cope with the demands of the pandemic, the need for more personnel and better staffing ratios became glaringly evident. New Regulation FocusThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has introduced new regulations requiring nursing homes to meet minimum staffing requirements, in an ongoing effort to improve the quality of care for Medicaid and Medicaid recipients and are expected to have a profound impact on the industry. New Regulations Key Provisions Minimum Staffing Levels: Nursing homes are now required to maintain a minimum staffing level, ensuring there are enough nurses and other staff members to meet residents needs adequately. These levels will vary depending on the size and needs of the facility. Staffing Ratios: Facilities must now have an appropriate number of registered nurses (RNs) on staff 24/7 to provide skilled nursing care to residents. Transparency: Nursing homes must be transparent about their staffing levels and retention, making this information readily available to residents and their families. As staffing levels and turnover have shown to be directly correlated with quality of care1. CMS database of nursing home owners and operators.2. Improve transparency of facility ownership and finances.3. Enhance nursing home Care Compare rating website.4. Examine the role of private equity investors in the nursing home sector Accountability: CMS will enforce these regulations through regular inspections and assessments. Nursing homes failing to meet the requirements may face serious penalties of lose their eligibility to Medicare and Medicaid fundingPotential Impact There are several positive changes these new regulations are expected to make in the long-term care industry Improved Quality of Care: Appropriate staffing levels mean better care for residents, as their needs will be addressed more promptly. When a residents need is met in a timely manner it can lead to preventable medical complications and overall improvement in the residents quality of life. (PubMed) Improved Resident Safety: Incidents of neglect and abuse may decline with more staff members available, ensuring a safer environment. Better Staff Retention: CMS is investing $75 million in financial incentives, in things like tuition reimbursement to help improve retention at nursing homes. (npr.org) When a facility is staffed adequately it can reduce burnout and stress, leading to less staff turnover and hopefully as a result will attract more skilled professionals to the industry. Informed Choices and Transparency: Nursing Home Five-Star Rating System will aid families in making informed decisions when choosing a facility for their loved ones. Government Accountability: Oversight and government enforcement are critical in ensuring nursing homes are held accountable and lead to systemic positive changes.Challenges and ConcernsImplementation: Due to nationwide shortages in nursing and healthcare supportive staff, nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid may struggle to meet the new regulations standards.Costs: Hiring additional staff equates to increased costs which are often passed on to the residents. The American Health Care Association believes that the proposal will worsen current conditions and cost nursing homes billions. (Associated Press)Monitoring and Enforcement: Effectiveness of the new regulations will rely on regular monitoring and enforcement by CMS. With 75% of nursing homes nationwide being impacted, this could potentially lead to closures and additional struggles, especially in remote areas. (Associated Press)Not Enough: Leader of Long-Term Care Community Coalition, Richard Mollot, called the measures completely inadequate. While admitting that the 24/7 nursing requirement may make small improvements in some of the worst facilities. (Associated Press)There is no question that we all want quality care in a safe environment for our elderly and loved ones. While there will be many challenges to overcome implementation, the benefits in enhanced quality care, resident safety, and transparency outweigh the concerns. Only time will tell if these new regulations will truly be able to aid nursing homes in making changes that yield positive long-term outcomes for residents. Families being able to make better and more informed choices as to where their loved ones receive care is a step in the right direction. After decades of caring for loved ones, there is nothing that can compare to having a family member or friend that checks in on their person regularly. Being present and knowing youre coming has a positive impact not only on the residents but the staff too. Long-term care is a team effort and taking an active role to be a positive part of that team can make a significant difference. 'Britt Hemsell | Senior Living Advisor & Blog ContributorResources:The Associated Press by Matt Sedensky: reader.dallasnews.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=87cfddf9-73c6-4259-a88b-e6e912921658The White House: FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Steps to Improve Quality of Nursing Homes | The White HouseNPR: Biden New Federal Standards for Nursing Home Care : NPRPubMed: The association between nurses' burnout and objective care quality indicators: a cross-sectional survey in long-term care wards - PubMed (nih.gov)
Did you know there are financial assistance programs available to veterans who need assisted living care? Our veterans made numerous sacrifices to uphold the freedom we enjoy today while their families kept the home fires burning. They are entitled to many benefits in appreciation for all they endured for America.Veterans benefits for senior living are available for qualifying veterans and their surviving spouses, as long as the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during a wartime period, and received an honorable or general discharge.Veterans Aid and Attendance for assisted living careOffered through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Aid and Attendance is a monthly pension benefit that can help cover the costs of assisted living care. It is available for wartime veterans and their spouses who have limited income and require the regular attendance of a caregiver.Aid and Attendance is designed for individuals who need assistance from another person to complete everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and assistance with other daily activities. A veterans need for this benefit does not need to be the result of their military service.Funds received from Aid and Attendance benefits can offer a monthly benefit to help pay for assisted living and long-term care for a qualifying veteran and their spouse. The actual monthly benefit is determined by the veterans assets, income and medical expenses and conditions.Contact your local county Veterans Services office with questions on how to apply by visiting www.benefits.va.gov/vso.MedicareMedicare will pay for short-term care at nursing and rehabilitation facilities for seniors who need these services after an illness or injury that requires hospitalization. Medicare does not cover the cost for assisted living, home care or other senior living services.Long-Term Care BenefitsThe Veterans Administration provides both short- and long-term care in skilled nursing settings for veterans who cannot care for themselves. This benefit does not cover assisted living or home care.Housebound BenefitsVeterans confined to their homes and requiring assisted living care may be best suited to receive Housebound benefits. This program provides an increased monthly pension amount for those confined to their home due to a permanent disability.Applying for BenefitsThe Veterans Administration has regional offices that provide Veteran Service Organization representatives who may be able to answer simple questions about assisted living benefits, as well as provide free, basic advice on the application process.Many veterans seeking advice on applying for assisted living benefits hire a qualified attorney accredited by the VA or an accredited claims agent, who has passed a written exam about VA laws and procedures.The application process for assisted living benefits is often very lengthy. It is important to be thorough when completing the application and have all required documentation gathered and ready to submit.There are additional financial options to pay for assisted living care for individuals who do not qualify for veterans benefit. Click to find out more about financial options for senior living.Country Meadows offers affordable assisted living or personal care on its nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Our friendly co-workers are always available to help! Contact us today for more information.
Assisted Living Tours: Find the Right Fit for Your Loved OneBy: Country Meadows | Assisted LivingWe spend our entire lives raising families, managing households, working, balancing checkbooks and making countless decisions. As we age, these everyday duties can become more and more challenging. Making a well-informed and thoughtful choice about assisted living for yourself or a loved one is a significant decision that can impact overall well-being. Too often people wait until a crisis occurs, necessitating a quick decision when selecting senior living. Preparing for assisted living by researching options and taking assisted living tours allows individuals to thoughtfully select senior living accommodations.There are many reasons why visiting and taking assisted living tours in advance are important.Facility atmospherePaying visits and taking in-person assisted living tours allow you to see for yourself the overall atmosphere and ambience of the community. This includes noting cleanliness and the layout as well as the general feeling of the environment. This firsthand experience can provide insights into whether a community is a good fit for personal preferences and comfort.Staff interactionDuring assisted living tours, meeting staff members and interacting with current residents can provide valuable insights. Note the level of professionalism, friendliness and responsiveness of the staff while gauging the overall satisfaction and happiness of residents. Pay attention to staff achievements and organizational awards such as certifications in programs that recognize great places to work.Establishing relationships with co-workers and management during a visit provides customers with insights as to the teams willingness to communicate and work with residents and their families, fostering a sense of trust and confidence in the care to be provided.Services and amenitiesAssisted living communities offer various services and amenities. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can personally evaluate the quality and context of services offered, such as dining options, activities, care, transportation and other options. This helps ensure the facility meets specific needs and expectations.Care philosophyEvery assisted living community may have a unique approach to delivering care. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can ask thoughtful questions and gain a better understanding of the facilitys care philosophy to determine if it aligns with expectations.Safety and accessibilityTaking assisted living tours helps seniors assess safety and accessibility features in a community. This may include building layout, emergency response system options and general safety measures and policies. Understanding these aspects is vital for ensuring a secure living environment.Stress and anxietyKnowing and being familiar with potential living arrangements in advance reduces the stress and anxiety associated with making urgent decisions. Taking assisted living tours provides familiarity with the location and offers a sense of security during what can be a challenging time.Good fitUltimately, assisted living tours help prospective residents ensure the community is a good fit for individual wants and needs. Factors such as cultural compatibility, community engagement and overall feel of the environment is subjective and only can be assessed through direct experience.Time for questionsDuring assisted living tours, visitors have the chance to ask questions and seek clarification about various aspects of what everyday life will be like in the community. This helps individuals obtain detailed information about policies, costs and other factors that help customers make informed decisions.Plan for the futureVisiting and taking assisted living tours before a crisis allows individuals opportunities for better long-term planning. It provides the time to explore different options, compare facilities and make decisions based on careful consideration rather than under the pressure of urgent circumstances.Country Meadows
Grace Pointe Continuing Care Senior Campus offers a variety of comfortable living options, as well as in patient and out patient rehabilitation. With our team of experienced healthcare professionals, Grace Pointe provides a continuum of care, including independent & assisted living, memory care, long term care & skilled rehabilitation, featuring private suites with private baths & showers. Our campus offers four separate neighborhoods featuring separate entrances, dining & living rooms.
Grace Pointe Continuing Care Senior Campus offers a variety of comfortable living options, as well as in patient and out patient rehabilitation. With our team of experienced healthcare professionals, Grace Pointe provides a continuum of care, including independent & assisted living, memory care, long term care & skilled rehabilitation, featuring private suites with private baths & showers. Four separate neighborhoods feature separate entrances, dining & living rooms.
Grace Pointe Continuing Care Senior Campus is a senior care community offering a variety of comfortable living & rehabilitation options in N. Colorado. With our team of experienced healthcare professionals, Grace Pointe offers independent & assisted living, memory care, long term care & skilled rehabilitation, featuring private suites with private baths & showers. Our full service Rehabilitation Center offers Physical, Occupational & Speech therapies - inpatient or outpatient services.