Improving the lives of older Americans has been a continual challenge for those working in long term care. It has been on the forefront of many policymakers' agendas, with countless advances made over the years. A model that undoubtedly comes to mind when considering the needs of our growing older adult population is person-centered care—a model in which a person's preferences guides all aspects of health care delivery.
LW Consulting, Inc. has provided many of our clients with staff training based on person-centered care. It's a model that when put into practice incites a sense of value and mutual of respect. However, many of our current healthcare programs are still challenged with the ability to sufficiently provide person-centered services. In a recent report, LeadingAge speaks out:
Our LTSS [Long-Term Services and Supports] system is plagued currently by inadequate funding, coordination, and choice. Its current design places enormous pressure on families, and leaves older adults disconnected and depressed. Most alarming, the system is ill prepared to meet the needs of a rapidly growing older population.
LTSS was created so that persons with disabilities and other chronic health conditions could have choice, control and access to quality healthcare services with the goal of promoting independence, health and quality of life. Children, adults and seniors rely on LTSS to assist them with living as independently as possible.
In the report, LeadingAge suggests a new approach for LTSS based on “principles of shared risk and consumer flexibility.” Recommendations include: (1) a universal approach to coverage; (2) a catastrophic benefit period; and (3) a "managed cash" benefit structure.
LeadingAge's new vision for LTSS promotes consumer choice and flexibility. According to the organization, it will “stimulate and reward innovation, quality improvement, and the development of products and services consumers want and need.”