A Head-Spinning Peek Into the Future
| I really can see why because, recently, I climbed the end-of-the-year fence to peer into the murky future proffered by 2007. I nearly fell off and had to regain my balance.|
I saw a topsy-turvy world of battling initiatives, of contradictory impulses, of clashing visions-a whirl of forces trying to pull people out of institutions and, at the same time, support them. I saw strange creatures called Money Follows the Person, Cash and Counseling, Home- and Community-Based Services, and Consumer Choice all tugging at potential residents to keep them out of nursing homes. I saw quality initiatives-so many quality initiatives-with such names as Quality First, the Nursing Home Quality Initiative, Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes, all beckoning alluringly, even while the state survey process whirlpool grew ever larger. I saw creatures called DRA and PACE advancing upon LTC operators and changing their world. And I saw one of the scariest creatures of all, Managed Care, lurking about as an alternative for Medicaid-financed LTC.
In the land of assisted living, which once prided itself on being consumer-based and anti-regulatory, I saw it being ravaged by a creature known as CBS News, while a white knight known as NCCNHR-well known to nursing homes-prepared to administer a regulatory knockout blow.
Yet, turning about, I saw a sunny side: states flush with cash starting to look kindly again on nursing homes (if only for a little while) as the only safe venue for very sick elderly. I saw long-term care insurance finally evolving into a stable, serviceable product, and middle-aged individuals taking notice and beginning to plan for their future care needs. Also on the bright side I saw entrepreneurial owners and operators moving to take advantage of the new long-term care trends, master the various creatures lurking about, and create new and flourishing businesses in the age-old profession of caring.
This was heartwarming but, having seen all this, I felt that I had to get down from the fence. I needed to take a breath and rest a bit. Yes, I am ready to move ahead-it is December, after all. It's just that I'll take my sweet time finding the gate. To send your comments on this editorial to the author and editors, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard L. Peck was editor in chief of I Advance Senior Care / Long-Term Living for 18 years. For eight years previous to that, he served as editor of the clinical magazine Geriatrics. He has written extensively on developments in the field of senior care and housing.