New Models For Elder Care

New Models For Elder Care

Seniors are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., projected to make up more than 20 percent of the total population in about a decade. But a new study reveals that the days of the traditional nursing home are numbered, thanks in large part to telehealth.

In its “Candid Conversations On Elder Care” survey, global accounting giant BDO partnered with NEJM Catalyst to ask 500 healthcare organizations about their investment plans for senior care by 2020. They overwhelmingly felt that home health and telehealth-driven care coordination offered the greatest opportunities to improve elder care. Nearly half of the organizations plan major investments in home health and palliative care in the next two years, while only 12% have plans for new skilled nursing facilities and just 6% plan to invest in traditional nursing homes.

“Today’s nursing homes are undergoing rapid change while the overall healthcare industry consolidates,” says Karen Stone, a member of the long-term care team at the BDO Center for Healthcare Excellence & Innovation. “Elder care providers that evolve business models to improve care quality and satisfaction will thrive. As reimbursement expands for home health and telehealth services, elder care facilities that don’t evolve will be replaced.”

It’s not just the shift to value-based care that’s fueling this phenomenon. Telehealth has the power to give seniors what they’ve always longed for: the ability to spend their final days in the comfort of their own homes

Teleheath is also an integral part of programs designed to care for seniors who are frail but not bedridden. Healthcare organizations are beginning to invest more heavily in Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which provide care for many seniors who are often dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid benefits. PACE provides preventive, primary and long-term care under a single umbrella that includes home health and telehealth consultations.

For far too long, the U.S. health system has “medicalized” old age. Now telehealth is helping improve seniors’ quality of life by making home care more effective and economical.