The New York Times reports that nursing home operators are closing facilities and moving towards a new model of care the allows the elderly to remain in their homes and still receive the needed care they would typically get in a formal institution.
The shift has been one born out of necessity, as Medicare and Medicaid financing continues to be squeezed in the United States. As a result, many health care experts argue that for many aged patients, the nursing home model is no longer financially viable or medically justified.
“It used to be that if you needed some kind of long-term care, the only way you could get that service was in a nursing home, with 24-hour nursing care,” said Jason A. Helgerson, the Medicaid director for New York State in an interview with the Times. “That meant we were institutionalizing service for people, many of whom didn’t need 24-hour nursing care. If a person can get a service like home health care or Meals on Wheels, they can stay in an apartment and thrive in that environment, and it’s a lower cost to taxpayers.”