Bulletin
Investor Alert

Next Avenue

July 13, 2020, 8:47 a.m. EDT

The case for defunding nursing homes and replacing them with a radically different model

The COVID-19 pandemic is a 9/11 moment for nursing home care. It’s time to replace the institutional model—here’s how it can be done

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Charles Sabatino


iStock
Warehousing frail elders in hospital-like buildings with high staff turnover compromises quality of care.

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org .

Just as the defund the police movement underscores the institutional racism that cries out for fundamental change, the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging nursing home residents underscores a deep-seated ageism inherent in our institutional model of nursing home care. I believe it is time to defund the institutional model and replace it with a radically different model.

Today’s typical nursing home has never come close to meeting the public’s desire for humane and dignified long-term care. Warehousing large numbers of frail elders in hospital-like buildings with residents in double or triple rooms along with staff turnover as high as 100% unavoidably creates a high risk for resident safety and compromises quality of care.

Nursing homes in the pandemic

Even before the pandemic, 82% of all nursing homes had infection prevention and control deficiencies cited in one or more years from 2013-2017, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. And 48% had such a deficiency in multiple years.

Despite the $90 billion paid annually by Medicare and Medicaid to nursing homes, and exacting regulatory requirements addressing quality of care and quality of life for the nation’s 1.3 million nursing home residents, we as a society have failed to keep frail elders safe — let alone in an environment that older adults look forward to residing in.

Pandemic data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate that, as of the end of May, over 32,000 nursing home residents had died in the 88% of nursing homes that reported data. Other analyses have reported nursing home resident and staff deaths represent 40% of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths and in some areas, as high as 75%.

See: Undetected community transmission in N.Y. drove nursing home deaths, report says

As a result, multiple recommendations for change have gained attention. They include ensuring adequate personal protective equipment in nursing homes; disaster plans that facilitate quarantining; more and better trained staff and heightened monitoring and oversight of care.

But let’s be clear: These measures do little more than rearrange the deck chairs in a failing system.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a 9/11 moment for nursing home care and a test of our ability to reimagine nursing home care that puts the “home” into nursing homes.

The green house model

As the largest payer for nursing home care, Medicare and Medicaid hold the key. Now is the time to change facility requirements to gradually limit participation in the program only to facilities that provide the following:

  • Small home-like facilities

  • Single rooms and bathrooms

Page 1 Page 2
This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In
Retirement

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »

Partner Center

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.