Long-term care is changing in New Jersey — and across the nation. Gone are the days when the elderly and disabled had to choose between a nursing home and a hospital, or remain housebound with only minimal care.
New Jersey is moving instead to a flexible system that offers patients and clients far more options along a continuum of care, options more closely tailored to individual needs and positive outcomes.
Meanwhile, increased funding is being made available to home and community-based services. The goal: Save money while delivering better, more responsive care.
But with changes come challenges and questions — as well as opportunities.
What does this new model for long-term care mean to home health-service providers, hospitals, insurers, and nursing homes? And what does it mean to patients and family caregivers?
NJ Spotlight, the state’s leading public-policy website, delved into these questions at its September 12th conference: The Future of Long-Term Care in New Jersey. We gathered government officials, along with industry experts and advocates, to take an in-depth look at the issues confronting this rapidly evolving healthcare sector.
Morning Panel: The Future of Nursing Homes and Palliative Care
The function of the nursing home is changing. Able seniors stay in homes or assisted-living facilities for longer periods, leaving nursing homes to increasingly serve those who are near the end of their lives. At the same time, there is a growing interest in expanding palliative care, which focuses primarily on making patients comfortable. This panel will explore: The economic challenges facing nursing homes; transitions in care between nursing homes and hospitals; and integrating palliative care into nursing homes.
Lunchtime Panel: The Future of Home- and Community-Based Supports and Services
On July 1, a new era in New Jersey healthcare began when key provisions of the comprehensive Medicaid waiver went into effect, leading to a greater emphasis on home- and community-based services. Policymakers are discussing what this will mean for residents and existing providers. This panel explored this rapidly evolving landscape. Among the issues: the implementation of the New Jersey’s comprehensive Medicaid waiver, the challenge in adequately compensating home health aides and recognizing the work of family caregivers, and the importance of measuring the quality of services delivered in both family home and nursing home settings.
Keynote Address: U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone
As the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, Pallone supports increased funding for long-term care. He has proposed a new program under the Medicare law — which he has called “Section E” — to pay for these services.