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Long Term Care Mental Issues of Dementia, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Long-term care (LTC) by description is a phrase used to explain numerous home and neighborhood based LTC services for those who require help looking after themselves.  These needed services can sometimes include the management or supervision of medicine, individual care, or solutions supplied by a nursing home professional. Long Term Care (LTC) is needed by individuals of any age but it is more of a common need for older people.  Long-term care can be identified in many setting such as nursing homes (NH), assisted residential living (ASL), and skilled nursing facilities (SNF). It is common for LTC provider to assist patients with individual care and professional nursing home care, such as helping with daily activities such as bathing, getting dressed and assistance with using the restroom. With the increasing numbers of elderly each year, the Long Term Care (LTC) facilities are having problems trying to meet the needs of the massive growing elderly population. The baby boomers have reached epic numbers as they are suffering from the disease in record numbers. The disease that affecting seniors in the later years is called Alzheimer is which a form of dementia is. The government must provide some interim laws that help the Long Term Care (LTC) facilities to continue providing a necessary level of medical care while finding solutions that will cover the aging seniors with dementia. These laws can help the facilities with employing more nurses and expert skilled professionals to address the often numerous chronic dementia conditions associated with the aging population.

Family Impact  

The diagnosis of dementia has a devastating impact on the family members who are supporting the elderly patient with LTC needs and services. There are many federal regulations concerning the financial situation of the elderly parent. The patients that are at the poverty level with receive government assistance in forms of Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicaid. However, for those families that can afford the nursing home LTC services will face heavy financial burdens. The senior population is growing as such a rapid pace due to living longer and the exploding baby boomers, which will add to the family burden of caring for elderly parents. According to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota(2013),” “As more and more Minnesotans live with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the costs and challenges can be overwhelming for them, their families, and our state”(pg.1.). The families will suffer the emotional stress from worrying about a parent that might recognize them or they become very difficult to handle in a home environment. It is always a difficult decision to transfer a beloved family member to a LTC facility, however, health insurance providers are providing innovative support systems to help the family adapt. Many of the health insurance providers have elderly advocates that can help with the transition free of charge.

Elderly Increasing Growth

The United States has depended on the power and effectiveness of the healthcare system, which has taken care of the aged for decades. Nevertheless, the US Healthcare System is on the brink of collapsing under the excess weight of the additional care required for the baby boomers. According to Matheson (2013),”What is more important is the finding that within the over-65 group, the fastest growing segment is those over 100. In the U.S., the number of people over 100 triples every five years” (pg.1). The US Healthcare System was establish for Americans a long time ago to assist a growing country; however, the population has outgrown the healthcare system. The systems that are strained because of elderly growth are Medicare, Medicaid, and all other programs that assist with the proper care of elderly patients. In the beginning, the most of the health care services were available to help families when an individual passed away. However, the basic medical care has grown into the Long-term Care generation, which requires years of medical care for the aging population. The baby boomers are contributing to the overflow of elderly patients needing Long Term Care (LTC) services. According to Matheson (2013), “People over 55 are now the largest segment of our society, comprising 21 percent of the total population. Those over 65 are now the fastest growing segment of the population” (pg.2). According to the US Census Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and older grew from about 3 million in 1900 to over 35 million in 2000” (as cited in Matheson, 2013,pg.1).

The mental health system cares for elderly people with serious or chronic mental illnesses towards the later years of the elderly population. According to Moffit (2013), “The future looks grime for the increase in elderly care and the impact on the entire US Healthcare System.

The US Healthcare System and the public healthcare leaders must be aware of the catastrophic consequences of not having enough Long Term Care services that can take care of the elderly population. The healthcare alternatives 401K, Medicare and Medicaid will not be able to service the millions of elderly patients with healthcare needs including the increasing population of elderly with dementia or Alzheimer’s.  According to Boustany, Blackburn, and Gringey (2013),”Almost 14 million seniors could suffer from Alzheimer’s in 2040, and the annual rate for a private nursing home room continues climbing, reaching $81,030 in 2012”.

Understanding Dementia

Family members need to comprehend that coping with dementia; they ought to be well prepared for the further advancement of Alzheimer’s health problem through its various phases, which is hard to make adjustment.  Quite often, family members really feel isolated and without support as if they were to be left alone, having no assistance to handle the “unknown”.  They are also scared of needing to watch their loved ones become much more and more distant, conceivably losing a terrible battle with this disease. In order to help with this anxiety about the “unknown” you need to first understand dementia, Alzheimer’s disease has no cure and the elderly parent may never get better.  Dementia is the designation for a grouping of disorders that affect normal, routine activity of the human brain.  It is a progressive brain malfunction, which starts by first disturbing them by losing their ability to carry out standard, everyday activities and in most cases leads to long-term treatment.  These types of changes in the brain are slow and typically lead to memory loss and confusion, often affecting elderly people’s personalities and behavioral patterns.  It is essential for the family members and partners to be able to identify the early warning signs of dementia very quickly to ensure the patient receives early and adequate treatment.

Problem

The US Healthcare System in the United States has a catastrophic problem with treating elder patients with Alzheimer/Dementia.  Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.  The debilitating symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.  In healthcare industry dementia is associated with the disease According to Alz.org (2013, “Alzheimer that has impacted over 5 million Americans, sixth leading cause of death in the United States and in 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided more than 17.5 million in hours of unpaid care valued at $216 billion”(pg.2).  Dementia is not a unique health problem. It is a comprehensive term that explains a wide range of signs and symptoms linked to a decline in memory or other thinking capabilities severe enough to reduce a person’s capability to perform daily activities. Dementia is the decrease of cognitive functioning, thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such a degree that it interferes with a person’s everyday life.  Dementia is not an ailment itself, but instead a set of signs and symptoms.   Memory loss is a very common symptom of dementia, even though memory loss independently does not necessarily mean an individual has dementia.  Alzheimer’s disease is considered the most common reason for dementia, accounting for the majority of all identified cases. Medical diagnosis of dementia is fundamental key to valuable treatment and proper care. It is important to differentiate dementia from non-permanent; reversible problems that may cause loss of intellectual functioning from temporary, reversible ailments include strokes, negative effects from medicine, persistent alcohol dependency, and dehydration.

Dementia strips the elderly person of all dignity and the ability to function normally in any environment.  The dementia will affect elderly persons, health, quality of life, and the ability to survive and live on their own.  The dementia robs the elderly of their self-worth while diminishing their ability to effectively take medication, keep bank account records, drive a car, or have a social relationship outside of a facility.  The elderly usually cannot carry out activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, communicating, or dressing.  The elderly people living with dementia are at great risk for bad accidents and experience frequent injury from falls.  The disease does not have a cure and as the dementia worsens, the elderly person needs some type of Long Term Care (LTC) solutions.

Negative effects

Alzheimer’s health problem symbolizes a huge health issue because of its significant impact on individuals with the illness.  It takes a toll on their families who frequently become caregivers. There are numerous economic problems for the family as well.  The health care system is exhausted with Alzheimer’s disease because of its direct and indirect costs, and society overall is greatly impacted now and will be much more so in the near future.  Alzheimer’s condition is a chronic health issues that has effects on the human brain in aged patients; makes them lose some their memory; and fundamental abilities.  It can affect their brain cells in such a manner that they continue to reduce which can lead to a brand new batch of complications.  Many families can attest that in the early stages this disease can be incapacitating and serious. No one really wants to see his or her family member ill while losing any resemblance of a quality life.  It can cause disorientation, dementia, confusion, distrust in the individuals around you and often elderly with dementia have no real idea of time. The lose elderly patient cannot handle basic responsibilities such as paying bills, working around the house, shopping for groceries, even remembering all your family members becomes difficult. In extreme cases, a patient will become bed ridden not able to function such as walking around, using the bathroom, and eating.  The well-being of communities could be affected because as long as there are prolonged diseases like Alzheimer’s, the cost of medical care will continuously rise.

Assumptions

The most significant assumption is the US healthcare System will encounter economic shortfalls while attempting to make certain all Americans received Long Term Care services. The problem of how you can pay for increasing expenses of senior care was not addressed by the Affordable Care Act, or what some call Obamacare; it’s anticipated that most Americans — more than two-thirds of those aged 65 and up would need some type of long-term care, such as a nursing home, home health aide or adult “day care” center (Norton, 2013).  In today’s society, probably the unique topics to date are healthcare and the ever-rising cost thereof.  Healthcare is highly priced and people would like the best possible healthcare they are able to obtain. Consumers are demanding more coverage for dementia and Alzheimer’s, better treatment for ailment and more diverse insurance coverage from their insurance providers.  Americans are searching for the much better of life and their insurance providers and employers are attempting to provide the means without increasing the cost, people need better education about the massive hazards of being without medical coverage and the tragic prospect of serious illness, which could result in the admission to a long-term care facility, hospitalization, or both. The cost of these Long Term Care services will continue to rise over the next decade.  As result of this rise, the nursing industry shall be impacted as well. The nursing industry cannot keep up with the constant growing demand for more nurses for the baby boomers generations.

Significance

The primary significance is there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.  As a result, millions of Americans are dying from this debilitating disease.  The government should provide more research and resources to cure, healthcare reform, and bolstering the nursing industry for the future.  Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death among the elderly population. The elderly population cannot rely on Medicaid for Long Term Care because the Medicaid funding has already become strained because the number of Alzheimer’s patients is increasing double each year.  The LTC facilities do not have enough resources to continue to house and treat the elderly populations.

Position

There is a major need for Medicare reform.  However, we must first understand what the purpose of Medicaid is. What is Medicaid in the United States?  The government support program is called Medicaid. The US Health systems introduced Medicaid into existence in 1965.  Medicaid is jointly funded endeavor between the Federal and State governments to support State governments in the provision of sufficient health care to eligible needy individuals.  Medicaid is the largest program providing medical and health-related services to America’s poorest people; it covers approximately 36 million individuals including children, the aged, blind, and/or disabled, and people who are eligible to receive federally assistance and payments”(Hixon, 2013).    However, the Medicaid system was not set-up to support Long Term Care for millions of Americans.   The US Healthcare System has a major dilemma because Medicaid cannot support all the baby boomers with dementia that need Long Term Care services.   The Medicaid system is in need a major reform, which must provide solutions to the needs of the LTC elderly populations.   The aging population has outgrown the rate of return for Medicaid services for the future. The government has known that the Medicaid and Social Security Services were being depleted since 1960s.   The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Survey of the Aged (1963) found that overall “the complex task of paying for necessary health services and providing adequate insurance for nonbudgetable expenses remains beyond the economic capabilities of most aged persons”(Frank, 2013).   The American people believe that Medicaid will continue to pay for Long Term Care services without any shortfalls.   This is not true because Medicare does not pay for the Long Term Care, thus leaving the Medicaid system to pay for the overcrowded number of elderly needing this LTC care.  This misleading information will lead to the bankruptcy of the Medicaid system for the future.  If the government does not make change to the current Long Term Care funds, millions of middle-class baby boomers will mistakenly rely on Medicaid, to finance future medical needs.  We will not solve our LTC problem without reforming Medicaid, our nation’s default LTC program.

Medicaid LTC spending has grown at an annual rate of 6.5 percent since 1995. According to the CBO, federal spending in this area will top $1.1 trillion annually in 2021” (Boutany, Blackburn & Gingrey, 2013).  The Medicaid reform will help the many needy elderly patients received the necessary care without burdening the current Medicaid Long Term Care deficient.  The Medicaid reform will save the Medicaid system from catastrophic financial cost because the lack of LTC services will definitely decrease the quality of living for LTC patients.  Medicaid is the largest source of public money for long-term care, paying for almost half of the nation’s nursing home care.

My primary position is the government has made earmarks for different types of legislation that are funded for different reasons. It is time to hold the senators accountable for ensuring funds for elderly healthcare is appropriated for the next 20 years. The public sector has been offering funding for different healthcare projects aimed at providing quality care to all Americans. The government and the private sector need to devise a plan to ensure that the seniors that built this country received every health benefit that have earned and deserve.

Recommendations

The US Healthcare Systems need to provide an initiative added to the Obamacare that ensures millions are put in reserves for the Long Term Care services.  These funds would not be moved around or used for any other purpose.  Many times funds are appropriated but they are used for other government needs.  The Long Term Care funds should be untouchable. Secondly, the government should ensure that a portion of Medicare A & B funds that will pay for Long Term Care services using Medicare Advantage plans as alternatives to the traditional Medicare to ease the burden of Long Term Care services.  The shifting to Medicare Advantage plans will shift the financial burden away from Medicaid and Medicare.  In ten years, billons would be saved in the Medicaid system that could be set-aside for Long Term care for the future.  Thirdly, the government should implement registrations that would forgive nursing degrees to increase the number of students entering the healthcare field.  These incentives would support the increase of baby boomers medical needs.  In addition, universities should provide incentives for students to entering the nursing program such as full scholarships.  The fourth solution would be to provide families financial incentives and tax incentives when they take care of their elderly parents at home.  This plan would work because many elderly patients will live longer when they are in surroundings that are familiar and the family would have assistance with financial needs. Overall, the healthcare reform needs to address the Long Term Care issue before it reaches the point of no return .

References

Alz.org. (2013). Alzheimer facts and figures. Retrieved from http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp#quickFacts

Boustany, C., Blackburn, M., & Gringey, P. (2013,April 13). Guest post: Medicaid’s looming long- term crisis. The Foundry. Retrieved from http://.heritage.org/2013

Frank, J. A. (2013). W (h) ither Medicaid? NAELA Journal, 9(1), 67-89.

Hixson, G. (2013). Long-term care and chronic care. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/longterm.html

Matheson, W. (2013). Aging, mental health and long-term care. Retrieved from http://www.continuingedcourses.net/active/courses/course041.php#Why2

Moffit, R, E, (2013). How to thinking about long term care. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/10/how-to-think-about-long-term-care

Norton, A. (2013,September 30). Many Americans worry about cost of long-term care: Poll. HealthDay Reporter. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=174048

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