Majority of Long-Term Care Users Receive Services at Home

Home was the most popular setting for the approximately 8 million people who received paid long-term care services in 2012, according to a first-of-its-kind report on senior care services and users. 

More than half (56%) of the approximately 8.4 million Americans who received paid long-term care were using home health services, says the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The nation’s 12,200 home health agencies served about 4.7 million patients in 2011, the latest year when data was available. 

The report collected data from around 58,500 paid, regulated long-term care services providers in 2012 split into five categories—nursing homes, assisted living communities, home health agencies, hospice agencies, and adult day services centers—and includes information on provider capacity, staffing level, and services provided, along with a national profile of long-term care users. 

Home health agencies served the largest population, followed by nursing homes with nearly 1.4 million residents and the more than 1.2 million patients who received hospice services. 

“[C]onsumers’ desire to stay in their own homes, and federal and state policy developments… have led to a growth in a variety of home- and community-based alternatives,” says the CDC. 

Still, the number of people using nursing homes, assisted living, or home care services is projected to increase from 15 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050, according to the CDC. Most of the increase is attributed to a projected growth in the senior population and corresponding need for care services, and recent projections estimate that more than two-thirds of the 65-plus population will need long-term care services during their lifetime. 

Medicaid finances a majority of long-term care, followed by Medicare, but individuals and their families have to pay for some services out-of-pocket. 

“Finding a way to pay for long-term care services is a growing concern for older adults, persons with disabilities, and their families, and is a major challenge facing state and federal governments,” the report says. 

Access the full report

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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