AARP’s new Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Scorecard finds that more than three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, care provided in the United States for older adults and people with disabilities is inadequate. The report finds that, while Washington is a national leader, major gaps persist, even here, especially related to our need for more qualified workers to help deliver home care, a too-high turnover rate for nursing home staff, and a lack of adult day services to offer respite to family caregivers.
Ranking #2 in the country, Washington outperformed most states and has made progress in improving care options for older adults, including the amount of Medicaid spending that goes toward home- and community-based services and a robust network of organizations at the state and community levels that help consumers and family caregivers learn about, consider and navigate LTSS options. However, the report shows there is still more to be done to keep up with the rapidly changing needs of an aging population.
As the population continues aging, millions of Americans will face greater health needs over the next several decades. The country is falling short of addressing those needs, especially in how we care for people of color and those with lower incomes.
“The pandemic reinforced the need to strengthen long-term care for countless loved ones across the country, including in Washington,” said Cathy MacCaul, AARP Washington Advocacy Director. “While Washington has made a decades-long commitment to bring services into the home, where older adults prefer to be, there are many roads to travel before we meet the needs of all Washingtonians who deserve the very best care, including the 820,000 family caregivers in our state. It’s time to accelerate our efforts for the sake of saving more lives.”
“Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services is committed to providing innovative services and programs, which provide quality care and allows people to remain at home or in community-based settings of their choice,” says Bea Rector, Assistant Secretary for DSHS’ Aging and Long-Term Support Administration. “We are pleased to be recognized as a leader in long-term care, and it shows the hard work and dedication of DSHS staff, providers, caregivers, policymakers, and advocates across the state.”
Additional key findings from the report include:
Home and Community-Based Services
Nursing Homes and Institutional Care
“COVID-19 tested our long-term care systems, and they failed. Now is the time to take the lessons we’ve learned to fix them, for the sake of saving lives,” said Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President, AARP Public Policy Institute. “AARP’s LTSS Scorecard shows some progress and innovation, but there’s still a long way to go before we have systems that allow people to age well and independently for as long as possible and support the nation’s 48 million family caregivers. It’s also clear some emerging issues deserve more attention – from whether nursing homes are prepared to confront natural disasters to whether they have plans in place to maintain and grow their workforces.”
Key recommendations from the report and AARP to strengthen support for long-term care and aging at home:
The Scorecard includes a series of 50 indicators focused on 1) affordability and access; 2) choice of setting and provider; 3) safety and quality; 4) support for family caregivers; and 5) community integration, using data from a variety of publicly available sources, such as the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, American Community Survey, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The LTSS Scorecard is funded by AARP Foundation with the support of The SCAN Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, and The John A. Hartford Foundation and has been updated every three years since 2011.
"Every person, regardless of where they live, their race, or their socioeconomic background, deserves long-term care that is accessible, safe, and prioritizes what matters most to them,” said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “The Scorecard shows that there are significant regional and racial disparities in the care a person receives. State policymakers can and should take steps now to close the gap in access to quality care.”
"The LTSS Scorecard indicates progress in some state programs, but opportunities exist for both public and private sectors to enhance LTSS,” said Sarita A. Mohanty, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The SCAN Foundation. “Most older adults prefer home and community-based care that meets their needs, but it remains financially out of reach for many working-class families, particularly those who are part of the 'forgotten middle'. TSF is committed to identifying, highlighting, and elevating innovative policies and programs to ensure all older adults can age well in home and community."
“Equity is an essential component of high-quality health care, and is especially important in LTSS,” said Melinda Abrams, Executive Vice President, Programs, The Commonwealth Fund. “I am thrilled AARP was able to add race and ethnicity data for several indicators. This year and going forward, this new data will shed light on the experiences people of color in LTSS and draw attention to individuals with the greatest need.”
To view the full Scorecard and state-by-state information visit ltsschoices.aarp.org.
About AARPAARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/about-aarp/, www.aarp.org/español or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspañol and @AARPadvocates on social media.
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable people over 50 build economic opportunity. Our approach emphasizes equitable outcomes for populations that have faced systemic discrimination. As AARP's charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Through vigorous legal advocacy and evidence-based solutions, and by building supportive community connections, we foster resilience, advance equity, and restore hope. To learn more, visit aarpfoundation.org or follow @AARPFoundation on social media.
About The SCAN Foundation
The SCAN Foundation envisions a society where all of us can age well with purpose. We pursue this vision by igniting bold and equitable changes in how older adults age in both home and community. For more information, visit www.TheSCANFoundation.org.
About The Commonwealth Fund
The Commonwealth Fund, among the first private foundations started by a woman philanthropist—Anna M. Harkness—was established in 1918 with the broad charge to enhance the common good. The mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and people of color. The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. For more information, visit: https://www.commonwealthfund.org.
About The John A. Hartford Foundation
The John A. Hartford Foundation, based in New York City, is a private, nonpartisan, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. The leader in the field of aging and health, the Foundation has three areas of emphasis: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care. For more information, visit: https://www.johnahartford.org.
This story is provided by AARP Washington. Visit the AARP Washington page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. PT
Facebook and Youtube
Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. PT
Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. PT
City Of Steilacoom