Pennsylvania Offers Many Quality Choices for Long-Term Care; PHCA President Urges Families to Plan for the Future
HARRISBURG — During a recent appearance by McDaid on a statewide public affairs TV program set to begin airing on Sunday, Dec. 9, PHCA President and CEO Russ McDaid announced that skilled nursing facilities improved in 17 out of 23 quality measures outlined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), with most facilities demonstrating a significant improvement of more than 50 percent.
The improvements come at a time when more than 30,000 nurses provide daily care to 125,000 residents in Pennsylvania’s skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes. Pennsylvania ranks fourth nationally in the percentage of people 65 and older, and by 2030 the state is expected to have in excess of 400,000 residents age 85 and older.
“It’s important for the public to understand that the value Pennsylvania’s skilled nursing facilities provide does not come at the expense of quality,” McDaid said. “Our state has extensive measures in place to keep our loved ones safe, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has, and continues to; provide intense and thorough enforcement of the state and federal regulations to protect the residents of Pennsylvania’s skilled nursing facilities. In short, Pennsylvania skilled nursing facilities are rising to the occasion and making tremendous progress to meet or exceed higher national standards.”
McDaid noted that PHCA members are routinely honored with third-party recognition and awards for the level of care provided to residents. He specifically cited The Brunswick at Longstown, a family-owned and operated Personal Care residence in York, Pa., were honored recently as a 2018 Bronze Achievement in Quality Award recipient by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) as one of many examples of quality in the state.
As a bronze award-winning facility, The Brunswick at Longstown was recognized for successfully demonstrating a commitment to providing a caring professional culture in which staff works with patients, residents and families to ensure high-quality care and a high quality of life for seniors and persons with disabilities.
The Brunswick at Longstown is one of many facilities throughout the state to be recognized for quality. In the year 2017 alone, 21 long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania received the Bronze National Quality Award for the high level of care they provide to frail elderly and disabled residents. In 2018, 11 nursing facilities, assisted living, and personal care members across Pennsylvania were recognized as 2018 Silver Achievement in Quality Award recipients.
McDaid also noted that family gatherings and extended visits during the holiday season make an opportune time to share plans about what lies ahead for their loved ones and to begin the difficult but all-important conversation about long-term care.
While it may seem counterintuitive to discuss such a weighty issue during a season of celebration, McDaid said that homey relaxed atmosphere, when the extended family is together rather than spread across different locations, is exactly what makes it the perfect time to share stories about life.
“Many people experience feelings of guilt when they consider long-term care for their loved one — and that’s among the reasons they put off the conversation,” McDaid said. “But having a conversation about the need for long-term care is in the best interest of the entire family, and it’s a discussion where the whole family can benefit and provide support.”
McDaid said before beginning the conversation, know the basics of long-term care and what’s available in the community. Providing educated answers can lessen hesitation and fear.
Pennsylvania has a robust continuum of care, including nursing homes, which provide 24-hour continuous health-care; assisted living facilities, which provide help with daily living needs and offer some basic health services; and personal care homes, which allow for housing and meals for individuals who are unable to care for themselves but do not need intensive medical care.
Each setting offers quality services tailored to the needs of the individual. The most important consideration when making a decision is an understanding of each unique situation, whether related to personal preferences or health-care needs, McDaid said. And when the time is right, visit a few options first.
“Your conversation should be a starting point, and lead to follow-up discussions,” McDaid said. “This is often a difficult topic for everyone, and decisions don’t have to be made immediately. But beginning the conversation means you’ll be better prepared to accommodate the wishes of your loved one when the time comes.”
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association manages a consumer guide to help families understand the state’s different levels of long-term care so they can make the best choice. Visit www.phca.org and click on “For Consumers” for tips and information about starting the conversation. Visit www.FindPaCare.org to find a skilled nursing facility, assisted living residence or personal care home in Pennsylvania.
McDaid’s appearance can be viewed in its entirety on “Pennsylvania Newsmakers,” one of the state’s premier politics and public policy television talk shows. The show is available at www.phca.org and will air regionally:
- WGAL Channel 8 (Harrisburg and Lancaster) Sunday, Dec. 9, at 11:30 AM
- WBPH (Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia) Monday, Dec. 10, at 8:30 PM
- WKBS 47 (Altoona) Saturday, Dec. 15, at 9:30 AM
- WPCB 40 (Pittsburgh) Saturday, Dec. 16, at 9:30 AM
- MeTV (Susquehanna Valley) Sunday, Dec. 9, at 11:30 PM