Long-term care staff, residents focus of CDC report

Those working in nursing homes care for people who tend to need more assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting and eating compared with those served in other long-term care (LTC) settings. And those working in adult day care and home healthcare tend to care for people who are younger than those cared for in other LTC settings.

Those are some of the findings of a new report [PDF] from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Long-Term Care Services in the United States: 2013 Overview offers results of the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers (NSLTCP) and includes data from NCHS surveys of adult day services centers and residential care communities as well as administrative records from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on home health agencies, hospices and nursing homes.

The report highlights supply, organizational characteristics, staffing and services offered by LTC service providers. It also offers information about those who use such services. The effort is designed to inform policy and planning to meet the needs of the country’s aging population.

Although the aforementioned findings pertaining to resident ages and service needs may not be surprising to those working in long-term care, other details may be new to them. According to the report, about 8 million people in 2012 in the United States were cared for by these LTC services providers:

  • 22,200 assisted living and similar residential care communities,
  • 15,700 nursing homes,
  • 12,200 home health agencies,
  • 4,800 adult day services centers and
  • 3,700 hospices.

Other key findings:

  • Most assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home health and hospice care providers are for-profit businesses, whereas most adult day services providers are nonprofit operations.
  • On average, a nursing home serves more than twice as many people daily as an adult day services center or residential care community.
  • Annually, a home health agency cares for more people, on average, than a hospice.
  • In the West, the supply of residential care beds and nursing home beds per 1,000 persons aged at least 65 years is comparable, whereas nursing home beds far outnumber residential care beds in all other regions of the country.
  • The supply of nursing home and residential care beds and the capacity of adult day services centers varies by region, suggesting geographic differences in access for those needing LTC services. The supply of residential care beds, for example, is greater in the Midwest and West than in the Northeast and the South, and the capacity of adult day services centers is greater in the West than in the South.

The study also found that nursing staffing levels, the use of social workers and the variety of services offered differs by service provider type:

  • Regarding nursing staff levels, the average daily staff hours per resident or participant day is higher in nursing homes than in residential care communities and adult day services centers. “This difference may reflect the higher functional needs of nursing home residents relative to service users in other sectors,” the report authors note.
  • Most hospices employ at least one social worker, whereas just more than 10 percent of residential care communities do so.
  • More hospices and nursing homes offer mental health and counseling services compared with adult day services centers and residential care communities.

The NCHS plans to monitor trends via the NSLTCP every two years.

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Topics: Clinical , Executive Leadership , Facility management , Rehabilitation