As the senior population grows, the need for long-term care and senior living solutions continues to be a top concern. A growing number of states are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve seniors’ quality of life with programs that get seniors back into their own homes.
Read more about the recent growth in government nursing home diversion programs.
States Offer Nursing Home Diversion Programs to Seniors
Many states now offer managed care programs committed to helping seniors either avoid a nursing home stay altogether or safely transition from the nursing home back into a home environment while still receiving the care they need.
The programs tend to have different names – Connecticut’s “Home Care for Elders,” Minnesota’s “Return to the Community” and Tennessee’s “CHOICES” program to name a few – but they all aim for the same goal of reducing the number of seniors that feel stuck in nursing homes. Many of the programs are directly linked to Medicaid and are therefore only eligible to those who qualify, but some states have expanded the services beyond seniors with Medicaid.
In many of these programs, seniors are assigned a representative (usually a nurse or social worker) who takes charge of organizing their care. They make sure that the senior receives the services they otherwise would have received in the nursing home in their own home, through home health care aids, nurses that show up to check on their well being and physical therapists, etc.
As more and more programs show success at both cutting costs and improving outcomes, the push to take them nationwide has gained momentum.
In 2006, the federal government started the “Money Follows the Person” program which has provided grants to over 40 states that have enabled them to transition over 75,000 people from nursing homes back into their communities.
Ways to Take Advantage of Nursing Home Diversion Programs
This option isn’t available to everyone but the reach of nursing home diversion programs is growing.
If you think your loved one would benefit from this program, the first step is learning if a program exists in your state. This can be tricky since programs use different terminology in different places.
Some terms to look for in your search are:
- Community choice
- Elderly waiver program
- Home and community-based services
- Home care for elders
- Home care program
- Return to the community program
If your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, then Money Follows the Program may be a good place to start your search. The participating states are:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- District of Columbia
Once you’ve identified a program in your state, reach out to the agency running it to find details on how to apply.
Have you, a parent or senior loved one used a nursing home diversion program? We’d like to hear more about your experiences in the comments below.