Nursing-home residents get aid to move out

Posted by Pam Blanton on May 14, 2010

From USATODAY.com By Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News

Richard Hasselbach, 62, and Deborah Kadlec, 52, moved from Arrowhead Nursing Center in Jonesboro, Ga., into a Peachtree City apartment.

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. — Richard Hasselbach and Deborah Kadlec met in a nursing home and dreamed of a life together outside its walls.  Their health conditions made living on their own a challenge: Hasselbach, 63, is disabled from a stroke and lost a leg to a blocked artery. Kadlec, 52, has multiple sclerosis. They both use wheelchairs and need help with basic chores such as bathing, cooking and remembering to take their medicines. Most of their relatives live in other states.

Despite those obstacles, Hasselbach and Kadlec got their own apartment and a personal care aide last summer through the help of a federally funded program run by the state. The program, known as Money Follows the Person, is the nation’s most ambitious effort to move people out of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities. It aims to help them live on their own and also save tens of millions of dollars for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled that pays for two-thirds of nursing home bills in the U.S.

Nationally, nursing home care averages about $75,190 per patient each year. Care in the home, through such services as meals-on-wheels and daily visits by a health aide, averages $18,000 a year, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute.  READ MORE

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