University of Missouri Nursing School Receives $19.8 Million Grant to Continue Elder Care Research

The Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes will be used as a national model for senior care and be able to continue researching the early detection of illnesses and interventions in coordinated care, including how to better prevent falls.

Every year at least 2.5 million elderly people are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries, which costs about $34 billion annually, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These falls may cause broken bones and head injuries which then lead to further complications such as brain trauma. Reducing senior care costs will be necessary as the government prepares for the large increase in the senior population.

Decreasing hospitalizations continues to be a goal for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant money for this research project comes from the budget of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which is housed under the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The project, called the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes, will be used as a national model for senior care. Marilyn Rantz, MU's professor emerita of nursing founded the initiative in 2012, along with a team of MU research colleagues. By implementing motion sensors, such as Xbox Kinects, in various areas of the residents' apartments, the researchers were able to decrease falls. The sensors can recognize changes in walking, bending and other body movements that may signal an increased risk for falls. The average cost of a nursing home in Missouri for a single room is $143.80 per day. Decreasing the need for nursing home stays assists Medicare and Medicaid to save millions of dollars a year.

The nursing school will also use the grant to research the early detection of illnesses and interventions in coordinated care, a model in which several health care professionals work together to ensure a patient's good health. Sixteen Missouri nursing homes have implemented the University's coordinated care model which resulted in a 34.5 percent decrease in potentially avoidable hospitalizations. Nursing home care can cost 

There are more than 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S.A. and Medicare does not pay for an ongoing stay in a nursing home but Medicaid, for low-income seniors, does pay for ongoing nursing home care. 

Plan your senior care plan ahead of time to best know the options and costs of care in your area. Transamerica also offers a free senior care financial planning consultation by calling 1-877-957-9851. Caregiverlist provides the only resource with the actual costs of nursing homes nationwide along with a customized nursing home rating.

Senior Care Costs: Shop Early Says Senior Living Expert Lisa Sneddon in Forbes Magazine

Senior care needs can arise suddenly.  In fact, I bet if you asked your friends what their retirement plans are, they would share with you some places they plan on traveling, where they want to live and talk about hobbies they would like to develop.  But mentioning the type of senior care they have in mind will probably be last on the list, if it even makes the list.

American seniors should plan on a 30-year retirement, says Senior Living Expert's Lisa Sneddon in Forbes Magazine's Planning to Make The Right Move in Retirement article.  Lisa is a Caregiverlist advisor and owner of Senior Living Experts which assists seniors, at no charge, to evaluate and choose the right Assisted Living Community. 

Assisted living can be an enjoyable option for active seniors, especially now that builders are offering more innovative communities which include spas, gardens and regular activity excursions along with a continuum of care needs.  Some seniors may cringe when they hear that monthly rent for an assisted living community usually requires at least $4,000 to cover all the necessary extra items.  Supportive living communities may only require $2,500 or more.  However, Sneddon points out that maintaining a house that may have become too large for the senior, and paying for the property taxes, may already eat up this amount of money each month.

Remember, nursing homes really are for acute care needs and cost as much as $8,000 or more per month.  This gives some perspective to assisted living costs.

Learn more about assisted living communities in your area by submitting a request for a senior care plan and learn more about assisted living at Senior Living Experts.

Chicago Nursing Home Care

Chicago seniors may need to have nursing care after a hospital stay and once a senior has Medicare benefits, they will receive a portion of the nursing home stay covered as a benefit, as long as a medical doctor preapproves the nursing care need.  However, Medicare will only cover a portion of the nursing home costs for up to 100 days after a major medical event.

This is when it becomes important to understand both the costs of care and the quality of the care provided.  Health inspections are conducted of nursing homes almost every year - the inspection must happen once every 15 months but as the inspectors change and some of the criteria can be subjective, these are only a starting point for evaluating a nursing homoe.

Chicago seniors should focus on the criteria that can be most likely to be accurate - Caregiverlist highlights these ratings which include the staffing ratio of C.N.A.'s to patients.  Often the ration is one C.N.A. to every 12 to 15 residents which means it can sometimes be difficult for this one C.N.A. to adequately transfer and assist all residents each morning and evening.  In these instances, families often must hire a private caregiver to come to the nursing home and assist the senior.

Chicago senior care options include:

  • Nursing Home care
  • Assisted Living
  • Senior Home Care (by licensed senior home care agency)

Review the nursing homes in the Chicagoland area along with the daily costs in order to be prepared should rehabilitation care in a nursing home become a need.

Illinois nursing homes range in price from $96 to $408 per day for a private room with a bathroom in the room - nursing homes in smaller cities cost less and the highest rating is 5-stars.

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Financial Columnist Terry Savage Highlights Long-term Care Insurance

Senior care costs can spiral up as care needs advance, as all senior caregivers have experienced.  Right now, Americans must pay for their own long-term senior care, unless they have nearly no assets and qualify for Medicaid health insurance for very low-income seniors.  One solution to help pay for senior care costs is long-term care insurance.  But it now it seems that even these insurance companies are questioning if they can cover the costs of paying for senior care with their policies.

Terry Savage, a financial columnist, provides an overview of the long-term care insurance industry in her column this week.  Combination products, or "combo products" are one way to fund long-term care that allows you to leverage the insurance contract.  You can have as much as six times the amount you paid in premium to use for paying for long-term care expenses.

Insurance companies offering these combo products are:

  • State Life Insurance Company, a division of OneAmerica
  • Lincoln Financial Group
  • Genworth

These combo products combine the concepts of an annuity or life insurance policy with long-term care insurance.  As nursing homes can cost as much as $300 per day (you can access nursing home costs in Caregiverlist's nursing home directory), and Medicare does not pay for long-term care, it is important to evaluate and plan ahead for senior care.



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Senior Care: When Moving Requires Downsizing

Senior care requirements sometimes occur suddenly.  As seniors (people age 65 and older), are now the largest group in size and percentage. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, this age group grew at a faster rate than the total poipulation between 2000 and 2010.  It also discovered there are 53,364 centenarians (age 100+). 

The population of older men increased at a more rapid rate than older women which means men are living longer now, too.  Previous generations experienced women outliving men by decades.  Now that women have entered the workforce, this has been changing and the advancement of medical technology has enabled doctors to discover illnesses earlier and successfully treat them.

As seniors are living longer, it has become more acceptable to plan ahead for senior care needs.  And more and more assisted living communities are opening up with all the luxuries you would expect to find on a spa vacation.  Senior care options include senior home care, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes.

Seniors experiencing a medical emergency can find the need to down-size to a smaller apartment in an assisted living community to be overwhelming.  Now there are services which assist with this.  One of my friends who had 2 sibilings, had innovative parents who asked each of them to tell them what items in their home they would like to inherit.  Then they gave them what they could at the time of their downsizing and sold their home and moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).  As everyone in the family knew who was getting what for inheritance, that issue was solved.  They were then able to enjoy their retirement years without the added stress of keeping up a large house.  Her mother did die suddenly and her father later developed memory loss and cancer but was able to transfer to the nursing home section of the CCRC and the children can go to work each day knowing he is well cared for (he has even found a girlfriend and is very happy).

Review the costs of nursing homes nationwide as you prepare for our own retirement care.  Nursing homes are often an extension of a hospital stay now (Medicare will pay for up to 100 days) and if you should run out of money to privately pay for care, you may qualify for Medicaid and be able to receive care in a Medicaid nursing home.

MSNBC recently reported on specialists who assist seniors to down-size.  Senior living experts also assist families to find the right assisted living community which will meet their budget requirements and provide the right amenities.  These services are free to seniors as they provide a valuable benefit to the assisted living communities who pay a referral fee to the senior living experts.

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Find the Best Nursing Home: Costs and Ratings

Nursing homes are never the first choice for anyone.  However, they are often an extension of a hospital stay, as Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home.  And when they are the next step after being admitted to a hospital, usually the decision for which nursing home to go to has to be made as fast as in one day.

Lookup the nursing homes in your area to understand their ratings, services and the daily costs.  While Medicare will sometimes pay for as much as 100 days of nursing home care after a hospital stay, the amount of the daily benefit can vary.  Sometimes a few more days are needed, especially if the senior is participating in rehab after a stroke or hip replacement.

Senior home care can also be an option with both hourly and 24-hour live-in services available.  Medicare also will pay for someone to come to the home for rehab, while a senior is showing signs of improvement - Medicare does not pay for long-term rehab in the home.

Learn about what Medicare does and doesn't cover and the Medicaid qualifications in each state too, as you plan ahead for your senior care.

Understanding nursing home ratings requires understanding what can and cannot be measured and rated appropriately.  The starting point is to know that health inspections are only made annually, at best.  The inspectors change, and this is also when the nursing home's staff is on their best behavior.

But some of the criteria in the inspection can be subjective.  For instance, one nursing home administrator in Minnesota told us they have had the same table in their laundry room for 20 years.  They fold and organize laundry on it.  Suddenly this year they were told it was in violation becaue where it was placed could cause someone to bump into it or fall. 

What can be measured, and what matters more, are things like the Certified Nursing Aide to resident ratio.  Registered Nurse to resident is nice to know but not as much of a factor because all nursing homes have a R.N. on staff.  It is the C.N.A. who provides the hands-on care and if they have more residents than they can easily get to each morning and evening, then care will suffer.

Learn about what criteria should be measured and considered in ratings and understand the costs of nursing home care before you need it.


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CLASS Act: Long-term Care Insurance on Hold Now

Senior care can cost from $80 to $300 per day, when full service hands-on care is needed.  You can check out the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide and also learn about senior home care services in your area to understand the rates and services offered.

In an effort to help pay for senior caregiving services, former Senator Ted Kennedy championed the CLASS Act, a program which would allow working Americans to deduct money from their paycheck to go towards this benefit.  After working for a minimum of 5 years, anyone who qualified for needing care services would receive a benefit from $50 to $75 a day.

The CLASS Act was passed as part of the new healthcare law, with the Secretary of Health and Human Services given the job of outlining the specifics of the program, with a deadline of October, 2012.

Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, told Contgress last week that she does not see a way to make this new long-term care insurance benefit viable for everyone.  Medicare's cheive actuary, Richard Foster, wrote a memo to Congress in April of this  year, saying he feared a significant risk of failure as sicker people would tend to sign-up for the program, which would have voluntary participation.

Right now, if a senior does not own more than $2,000 in assets and has a very low monthly income, they will qualify for Medicaid care which will pay for nursing home care ongoing.  Otherwise, the senior is on their own to pay for senior care services.  It is possible for senior's with significant assets to "spend down" their assets paying for senior care services and then qualify for Medicaid.  However, this will become a financial challenge for the American government when more and more seniors, with the baby boomers aging, are expecting the government to pay for Medicaid nursing homes.

The CLASS Act was looked upon as one part of the solution to help pay for senior care needs.  Because tax payers are already on the hook for paying for Medicaid services, perhaps some of our financial wizards can come up with a long-term care program that would work for everyone. 


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Nursing Home Costs: Find Daily Rates of Nursing Homes

Nursing home care usually comes as a last choice, when full-service care needs are necessary and when staying in the home is no longer an option because of upkeep and costs.  If a senior runs out of personal finances to pay for caregiving services, they will qualify for Medicaid, for very low-income seniors (assets usually cannot be more than $2,000.  Medicaid will pay for ongoing care in a nursing home that accepts Medicaid as payment.

Some nursing homes will not admit a new resident who is on Medicaid but if they have a private-pay resident who then spends down their assets and qualifies for Medicaid, they will keep them.  This is important to remember as it can allow you to have Medicaid services at perhaps a higher quality nursing home.

Review the daily costs of nursing homes in your area and the most important rating criteria on Caregiverlist, to better plan for your senior care needs and to be prepared for short-notice care needs after a major medical emergency.



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