Dementia cases are on the rise in the United States, and this trend is expected to continue into 2019. In order to accommodate this influx of patients, dementia care centers require an increase in quality and funding.
Unfortunately, the amount of people suffering from this syndrome is simply increasing at rates too fast for the current system to keep pace. As a result, many caretakers are forced to place their loved ones into dementia care facilities that are growing less and less adequate.
If your loved one is beginning to experience symptoms of dementia, there are steps you can take to prevent this. With proper research and planning, you can provide the support your loved one needs, and find the best care center possible. To help your loved one prepare for the transition from independent living to an assisted living environment, learn more about dementia care centers in 2019 below.
Dementia is actually a syndrome made up of different illnesses that affect the brain, memory, behavior and general day-to-day life of those who suffer from it. This disease is frequently associated with fundamental memory loss and forgetfulness of common names, as well as the twisting of time and information. Alzheimer’s disease is most common and well-known of the different types of dementia, which presently affects nearly six million Americans. Alzheimer’s is also in the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.
Dementia consists of several phases, or degrees of severity, which are progressive and get worse over time. Mild dementia causes issues with remembering names, faces and completing basic tasks. It is also accompanied by varying degrees of depression and anxiety. With moderate dementia, these symptoms are accompanied by the deterioration of sensory-based faculties and verbal filters. Vulgar or obtuse language is common during this stage. Personal hygiene is also abandoned by many who experience moderate dementia.
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Severe dementia can cause a total blackout of all things previously familiar to the patient. Most alarmingly, this includes not remembering family members, his or her own name or even how to use the bathroom. It is at the onset of the moderate stage of dementia where most family members pursue additional help from assisted living facilities and care centers.
It is predicted that by the year 2050, America will be home to over 16 million citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s. This is triple the amount of sufferers documented at the end of 2018. There will no doubt be great efforts and adjustments made to dementia care centers in the intervening years. However, with one new case of dementia being documented every three seconds worldwide, it is simply unreasonable to think that new facilities will develop quickly enough to keep up.
The financial ramifications of this situation are even gloomier. It already costs the United States over $800 billion dollars annually to treat dementia. Many are wondering where the funding is going to come from to treat over 10 million new Alzheimer’s patients in the next three decades, let alone those suffering from other forms of dementia.
One positive change seems to be that senior citizens are experiencing the onset of dementia later and later in life. Conversely, once dementia sets in the state of decline is becoming more aggressive and less manageable. It is expected that the current dementia care centers will be unable to increase their staffing, quality and funding in order to meets these rapidly growing needs.
In order to ensure your loved one receives the best dementia care possible, it is important to perform as much research as possible. While different factors affect each care center, complications related to insurance coverage and the acceptance of Medicaid are national challenges.
Some dementia care facilities are non-profit organizations. However, over 80 percent are privately owned, publicly traded for-profit businesses that may emphasize profit over patient needs. Medicaid is not always accepted by these private facilities, because they receive more compensation from private insurance carriers. As a result, many dementia care centers screen patients for the ability to pay out-of-pocket.
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Another major factor to be aware of is the residency and billing contract. This document often contains hidden fees that are hard to spot and argue against. The less a dementia patient can do for themselves, the more they need, and therefore the more a care center can charge. Since this is practice is unregulated, it is important to read all the fine print on any documentation before you sign.
By law, dementia care centers are not allowed to discriminate against patients who only have Medicaid. That does not stop them from doing so with subtle violations, however. For example, self-funded patients often reach a point where they must turn to Medicaid to pay for residency. Coincidentally, that is the moment when some care centers claim to have no more Medicaid beds available, and so the patient is discharged.
Dementia care centers have the power to set their own terms, but you have the right to negotiate them in your favor. For additional assistance, there are attorneys who specialize in these types of representation and negotiations. An attorney can help you draft written agreements stating that Medicaid stays are guaranteed, and out-of-pocket costs will not go up. Make sure you understand all patient rights before moving your loved one into a facility and document every communication, including names, dates and times.
Finally, be aware of all the regulations and laws applicable to care center facilities. The federal government is now taking increased interest in improving the standards that care centers must abide by. Continued improvement in rules and regulations is predicted in the future, but for now the quality of these centers varies widely.
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