Nursing home patients could get more choice
BATON ROUGE- Putting a loved-one in a nursing home is a tough decision but advocates for the elderly say it shouldn't be the only choice. Funding for nursing homes is guaranteed under Louisiana's constitution, not the case for at-home care.
"The way our system is structured, most people are forced into an institution or a nursing home if they don't have the means for at-home services," said Andrew Muhl with AARP.
Rep. Walt Lege (D-New Orleans) is sponsoring a bill that would give at-home care providers a larger share of the nursing home funding.
Muhl said at-home care is cheaper because it only requires a part-time caretaker versus the 24-hour care provided at a nursing home. According AARP, 1 in 5 patients in Louisiana nursing homes are classified as "low-need" which means they're more likely suited for part-time care.
Advocates for nursing homes say substituting at-home care has not been successful in other states. It will take money away from nursing home patients and it wont save the state money.
"The nursing facility program in Louisiana is the third lowest paid program in the country," said Joseph Donchess with the Louisiana Nursing Home Association. "We are cost efficient and we are capable of providing high level of care to our residents."
Lawmakers will debate the issue Wednesday.
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