Hillary and Harkin Introduce Bill to Force Disclosure of Names of Worst Nursing Homes

As someone with a parent in a nursing home, I am very glad to learn that Hillary Clinton and Tom Harkin (D-IA) have introduced a bill "that would force a federal agency to make public its list of the nation's worst nursing homes."

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has compiled a list of 128 nursing homes that have repeatedly fallen in and out of compliance with government health and safety regulations and caused harm to their residents. Those so-called "special-focus facilities" are now subject to more frequent government inspections.

Two weeks ago, the agency released an abbreviated, public version of the list that identified only 52 of the facilities. The agency refused to release the full list of 128 homes, even though it had already provided the full list to nursing home association lobbyists at the American Health Care Association.

Home-Centered Health Care

ike Magee is author of eight books, including Health Politics: Power, Populism and Health. He directs healthcommentary.org, and serves as a member of the National Commission for Quality Long Term Care. We discuss his latest book, Home-Centered Health Care, which argues that the quality of health care can be dramatically improved, and costs contained, by re-building health management around electronic patient records and home-based electronic medical monitoring.

Maryland Appeals Court Ruling Could Broaden Medicaid Eligibility Standards For Elder Care

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals last month ruled that some Medicaid eligibility standards used by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene were stricter than federal laws allow, and advocates hope the broad standards outlined in the case will be applied universally, the Baltimore Sun reports. The lawsuit was filed by Diane Byus on behalf of her mother, Ida Brown, after Brown was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and was unable to receive assistance through the Older Adults Waiver Program, a Medicaid program designed to provide services such as nursing and adult day care.

Maryland limits eligibility in the program to residents older than age 50 who have incomes less than $1,869 a month and require daily care from licensed health care professionals. Although Brown, who also has several chronic conditions, requires daily monitoring, she does not require constant care from a physician or nurse, the Sun reports. Attorneys from the Legal Aid Bureau and AARP argued in the case that state and federal laws limit eligibility to residents who regularly require "health-related care and services," such as those that could be provided in a nursing home, but not necessarily daily by a skilled nurse.

Elder care plan defied on 2 fronts

New Hampshire's 10 counties are waiting for a judge to decide if they must follow a new state law that requires them to take over the state's share of long-term care services for poor, frail elders.

The lawsuit won't be heard until mid-winter, but some House members have already crafted an insurance plan - legislation that would remove the counties from the nursing home business, leaving the state with the bill.

The move is the latest development in a complicated debate that's spanned nearly a decade. At issue is how New Hampshire should subsidize elder care for the thousands of poor seniors living in nursing homes or receiving health care services in their communities.

Report on the 2006 AARP National Survey of Reverse Mortgage Shoppers

Results of the first nationally representative survey of reverse mortgage shoppers—older homeowners who have gone through reverse mortgage counseling and either taken out a loan or decided not to do so—are presented in this AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) Research Report by Donald L. Redfoot of PPI, Ken Scholen of the AARP Foundation, and S. Kathi Brown of AARP Knowledge Management. This survey provides the first detailed look at consumer interest in reverse mortgages, consumer experiences with lenders and counselors, why some consumers decide against these loans, how borrowers use the loan proceeds, and how well reverse mortgages address borrower needs.

Caregiver Education and Support Programs Provide Positive Impact

White Paper Abstract: According to statistics by the Family Caregiver Alliance, approximately 52 million informal and family caregivers provide care to an adult that is ill or disabled in the United States. The majority of caregivers are 35 to 64 years old, and an estimated 60 percent are also working outside the home. A proactive approach to this growing dilemma through caregiver education and support programs allows employers to provide an invaluable benefit, while increasing employee loyalty and productivity.

Please fill out the registration form below to receive "Caregiver Education and Support Programs Provide Positive Impact" [Note: Incomplete and invalid forms will not be processed.]

Top Holiday gifts for those with Dementia

I'm sure if you have a loved-one with Alzheimers, what to get them as a gift can be difficult. Here are some excellent suggestions.

Top Holiday Gifts For Those With Dementia
By Susan Berg

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Buying a gift for them for the holidays is not difficult if you keep a few things in mind.

First you should know the persons likes and dislikes. Also important is knowing their strengths and weaknesses. In addition consider, when purchasing a gift for someone with dementia, keeping their mind and body active. Also think about a gift that will keep on giving long after Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza or other celebrated holidays are gone Keep in mind, also, that gift selections should change as Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, progress

Gifts that keep dementia persons' mind active

S.1577 - Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007

A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to require screening, including national criminal history background checks, of direct patient access employees of skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, and other long-term care facilities and providers, and to provide for nationwide expansion of the pilot program for national and State background checks on direct patient access employees of long-term care facilities or providers.

SenseCam Aids Patients with Memory Problems

"A small digital camera developed by Microsoft Research could boost memory in people with dementia and possibly mild forms of Alzheimer's disease. SenseCam is worn around the neck and automatically takes a wide-angle, low-resolution photograph every 30 seconds. It contains an accelerometer to stabilize the image and reduce blurriness, and it can be configured to take pictures in response to changes in movement, temperature, or lighting. An entire day's events can be captured and downloaded onto a PC where software converts the pictures into a short movie displaying the images at up to 10 frames per second, to allow patients to view a day's events in a few minutes to jolt their memory. "Not only does SenseCam allow people to recall memories while they are looking at the images, which in itself is wonderful, but after an initial period of consolidation, it appears to lead to long-term retention of memories over many months, without the need to view the images repeatedly," says neuropsychologist Emma Berry."