Long-term care to fuel home care

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Monday, June 30, 2003

WASHINGTON - The growing numbers of the elderly and disabled is expected to overwhelm long-term care facilities and, in turn, shift more patient care to the home setting, according to a May report by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The number of individuals using nursing facilities, alternative residential care, or homecare services over the next half century is projected to jump from 15 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050. Most of the increase will be driven by the 65 and older set, which is expected to more than double from 8 million in 2000 to 19 million in 2050, according to The Future Supply of Long-Term Care Workers in Relation to the Aging Baby Boomer Generation report.

As numbers climb, the need for direct care workers in long-term care settings is expected to peak once baby boomers begin reaching the age of 85 in 2030. The increased demand will come at a time when the numbers of long-term care workers is expected to rise only slightly.

The result: a possible shortage of such workers, ultimately increasing the number of in-home care patients and the need for home medical equipment. HME

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