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Illinois’ Long Term Care Scorecard

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Illinois long term care has been ranked at about number 24 out of the 50 United States on a number of dimensions by AARP, The Commonwealth Fund and The Scan Foundation.  So, does that mean that Illinois’ long term care glass is half full or half empty?  Let me share my perspective as a geriatric care manager on some of the details of this national study so that you can be the judge not just about the national study, but also about facilities you may be investigating for an elder or other special needs individual in your orbit.

The report is enlightening in how it rates and ranks what it refers to as long-term services and supports (LTSS) on four important dimensions.  And this is the first of its kind multi-dimensional scorecard on state-level performance.  When I mentioned that Illinois ranks number 24, that is an average across all four dimensions.  In reality, the state ranks:

  1. Number 12 in affordability and access which they calculate based on a numberof indicators such as the private pay cost of nursing home or home health care, other measures of insurance coverage and just how easy it is for those who need LTSS to receive them ;
  2. Number 33 in choice of setting and provider which is based upon the diversity and number of provider options available for both public and private pay individuals with needs;
  3. Number 24 in quality of life and quality of care which recognizes that it is not just the quality of care, but also how individuals who need LTSS can still preserve their safety, freedom from abuse and human dignity; and 
  4. Number 27 in support for family caregivers which recognizes that there has been a decline in recent decades in non-family care and services such as respite care that help preserve quality of life for the caregiver as well as the elder or special needs individual.

With our own state ranking about the middle of the pack, the scorecard tells us that there is tremendous variability in the quality of care available to elders and others with special needs in Illinois.  It is also important to appreciate that when the need arises for long term care, it usually is following an accident or sudden event like a stroke, a fall with hip fracture, etc.  So, when you are looking for a facility or home service for someone in your orbit, remember the key dimensions in this report as guidelines.  Check out the full report to get a better sense of the details of how they measure these attributes at Raising Expectations.  If you are looking to evaluate nursing homes in Illinois, you also will find a great web resource that will help you facility by facility in Illinois.      

Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Case Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families throughout metropolitan Chicago.  Please email your questions to Charlotte Bishop.

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