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Long Term Care is Not Always Cheap Says Score Card

Every year hundreds of thousands of people face the difficult choice of placing a loved one into a long term care facility or taking matters into their own hands and attempting to take care of an elderly family member at home. According to an article posted at Medicine on September 08, 2011 finding the right place may just depend more on geography then what you can afford to pay.

The article tells us the findings of a "scorecard" report which is collaboration between the AARP's Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Scan Foundation and ranks states' performance for long term elder care according to four categories:

  1. Affordability and access
  2. Patient choice of both provider and setting
  3. Quality of life and care
  4. Support for family caregivers

"Our intention is that this scorecard will begin a dialogue among key stakeholders so that lagging states can learn from top performers and all states can target improvements where they are most needed," the authors write.

Although all states had at least one category that they ranked well in it seems that some scored much better then others with Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and Wisconsin scoring the highest and Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Indiana scoring the lowest.

"There was wide variation across the states as well as within states," Bruce Chernof, MD, FACS, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, told reporters during a telebriefing.

One of the biggest problems seems to be affordability. Currently long term care facilities seem to only be available for those with a above average income even in states where affordability scored high. Did you know that average cost of care is around 171% to 241% of the average elderly person's income?

"We looked at affordability, and it's just not affordable," Susan Reinhard, senior vice president for public policy at AARP, told reporters.

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