Nursing Homes may feel that hospital care is warranted when an elderly patient develops swallowing problems, pneumonia or a serious infection, but researchers suspect ulterior motives for many of these transfers - money.
The National Institute on Aging sponsored a study with nearly 475,000 nursing home patients. Among those patients, 19 percent were hospitalized for questionable reasons and the variation from state to state differed greatly. In Alaska, 2 percent were transferred. In Louisiana, 37 percent were transferred. Of the 26 percent transferred from McAllen, Texas, many had been hospitalized for medical conditions that can usually be treated in a nursing home.
It was also found that transfers were more common with Black patients, Hispanics, and those without any legal documents containing care wishes. Medicaid on average pays $175 per day for long-term care, but Medicare will pay triple that amount for skilled nursing care needed for seriously ill patients. While the study provided no supporting evidence that money was the motivation behind the transfers, the results from this research suggest otherwise.
Tips for Nursing Home Care:
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