Eldercare at home saves money, improves quality

While the quality of the service is evidently dependent on its cost for most Americans with healthcare, seniors may be able to enjoy better eldercare for less.

Dr. Gilliam Johnston recently published an article in the Kennebec Journal in which he discusses the cost and quality advantages of seeing elderly patients in their homes rather than in medical facilities.

"Over the past eight years, I have taken care of countless patients who have difficulty leaving their homes due to chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, strokes and dementia," writes Johnston.

Eldercare at home saves money, improves quality The doctor says that many patients suffering from such conditions can only travel by ambulance, which is expensive.

Johnston and his team visit patients where they live and try to prevent unnecessary trips to the emergency room, he says in his article.

There is currently a bill before Congress that could make homecare the norm. The objective of the Independence at Home Act (IAH) is to improve the quality of care and to save money. Ten percent of Medicare beneficiaries account for 66 percent of Medicare costs, according to the American Academy of Home Care Physicians. These costs could be reduced if more elderly patients were treated at home.

Johnston claims that many elderly Americans are afraid healthcare reform will further limit their access to services and damage quality as well, while the IAH could do exactly the opposite.

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