After visiting the Washington state’s agency website I was a bit overwhelmed with how much information and resources are available. As an uninformed consumer I found that the Latest News regarding Aging and Long-Term Support Administration helpful because it is important to know current news in order to make the best and informed decisions for their loved ones. The navigation through the website is also very helpful because if you have particular questions regarding something in specific you can find a direct link to it. After the Latest News it jumps right into What We Do, which I think is a great way to elude into the next information most important to consumers to make informed decisions. Though I think the Latest News section is helpful, it could very well be less helpful and lead to more questions. However, there are hyperlinks attached to everything that one may wonder. I would suggest people to look further at these links.11
After visiting a few of the provided websites, there was one specifically that stood out to me; it was the state agency website with information about aging in place – DSHS: Aging and Long-Term Support Administration.
Reading through the information on this website with the eyes of an uninformed consumer was easy for this post because this is not something I have to ever think about.
When you first arrive to the website, the title is at the top centered, Services that help an adult remain at home. All of the categories and subcategories are in a different color (blue) and a larger font than the rest of the information making it easy to navigate through and find what you’re looking for without reading paragraphs at a time. There are also great informational videos and reference numbers to call if you have further questions (right hand side gray box – at least 5). While all of the links provided are very helpful, an older person navigating through the website might have a more difficult time keeping track of all of the information and different webpages.
Overall, I think that this website has great useful information. It’s clear, concise and every category is relevant to the subject on aging in place.
Consumers are often faced with issues such as illness, long-term care, and death and dying choices, but often times they are unsure what their options are. I recently became employed as an In-Home Care Aid with a company and actually found our states website to be very informative towards my career, and I could easily see it as a valuable resource for consumers looking for information on care resources. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services is a valuable resource for the uninformed consumers of Washington state. Immediately going into the site, it lists links on home and community sources, residential services, long-term care options, the office for the deaf, and provides a link to report instances of adult abuse. The easy to navigate layout of the site is a plus as well as consumers of this site may be older or not as skilled with computers. While the site does have its advantageous parts, there are also gaps in the information provided. Price is the biggest thing missing from the site. There are possible services listed but there are no details on how much those services may cost the individual. This could potentially be problematic for consumers concerned over the monetary aspects of care. Another aspect on the site that is lacking is the exact details of what it takes to qualify for services such as the length of stay required for some of the programs, the visitation during the care, and how good the care actually is. One way to solve this issue is to look up reviews that other consumers have left about the service provider. I would suggest people to consider programs offered by community centers as well. Many local community centers offer area specific programs that lend assistance to those in need of all types of care.
There is so much information out there about health services that it can be hard to dig through what is fact or fiction. When there is not enough services or personnel in the first place, it makes it hard to get accountable, easily accessible information to the consumer. There does not seem to be many options available for long-term care, especially for those who do not qualify for financial aid. As consumers, we need to push for better options in health care. As a nation, we need to address the severe shortage of health workers /services and the ridiculous cost of health services.
Myth 1: We have enough health care workers to meet the demands of the aging population.
There is an increasing demand for health services due to the increased incidence of chronic illness and a large aging population. The number of people over the age of 65 is expected to double between 2000 and 2030. This has led to a shortage of healthcare workers as there is not enough to meet the increasing demand. Physicians and nurses are being hit especially hard. By 2025, the AAMC estimates we will have a shortfall of 46,000 to 90,000 physicians. Between 2014 and 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there will be over 1 million vacancies in nursing. This growing lack of services and personal has led to concerning healthcare challenges.
Myth 2: We have adequate care for our aging generation.
The U.S population might be living longer, but the quality of life for many of the elderly is low. Our society does not currently have the resources to deal with the increasing number of older adults, many of whom have serious health problems and risks. Health care is extremely expensive, in 2010 people age 65+ spent an average of $18,424 on health care services in the United States. This financial burden is particularly concerning for the middle class, who make too much to qualify for aid but not enough to pay for long-term care services. In addition to the increasing cost of care, we simply lack the compacity to care for our aging population.
Myth 3: The DSHS has high standards and requirements for adult family homes.
Reading this article made me sick. I was shocked that we did not have higher criteria or rigorous inspections of these homes. People who have not read this article most likely believe that the DSHS has a rigorous application process and frequent expectations. This might be similar to how people believe the FDA conducts its own testing on products since its purpose of these agencies is to provide safe service/products and protect the consumer. It is terrifying to think that, so much abuse goes unnoticed and undealt with because we do not have the personal or facilities to deal with the increasing elderly population. Consumers need to push for higher standards and better options.
As I plan to live in Washington State when I am of the age that this information will be pertinent to me, I have decided to look at the provided Washington agency’s website. Looking at this with the eyes of an uninformed consumer was difficult as I do believe that most consumers would do extensive research before committing their loved ones to a long-term care facility. However, if this was the first place the consumer started looking, I could see how this could be both helpful and confusing.
Somethings that were immediately helpful were the statement that Adult Protective Services will be checking for signs of abuse as there have been many stories reporting abuse of the elderly in long-term care facilities. Another helpful thing was that there was a section for the deaf and hard of hearing. Many elderly people have a hearing problem, and many of them would need additional assistance in everyday life, it is good to know that that is an option. Some less helpful things were the lack of a listed cost, if there was a minimum amount of time that someone had to stay in the facility, and what the guidelines and rules are as far as visitation goes. However, this is more a lack of information rather than provided confusing information. I would suggest that consumers look elsewhere for more information. For instance, sometimes other consumers can be extremely helpful, so looking somewhere like Yelp for some reviews would be possibly be helpful in answering some questions. Consumers should also call any long-term care facility they are considering for their loved ones and ask any lingering questions, and visit any facility that they are seriously considering. Doing this would allow the consumer to make a better-informed decision and allow their loved ones to live a happier life in an assisted living community.
I discovered a website created by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to be extremely helpful when looking for health care. Almost all the information someone would be looking for can be found here. It is a decently short one paged website with many links to different pages that are useful as well, providing extra information one is looking for. DSHS cuts straight to the point, with no extra’s that tend to confuse consumers. The links are provided so that if a certain facility sparks one’s interest, they can travel to the cite and learn more about it.
When I first entered this page, it clearly stated that people using state funds (Medicaid) to pay for their care need to be looking for facilities licensed by Washington state that accepts Medicaid payments. Under that is a list of long-term care state license facilities and non-state licensed facilities. DSHS describes more in detail nursing homes, adult family homes, assisted living facilities and the non-state licensed facilities which include, retirement communities/independent living and continuing care retirement facilities.
I would suggest this as a place to start for those who are looking at facilities to send their loved ones for extra care. This offers important information as well as the important links that lead to more extensive information. DSHS provides an exceptional place to start when beginning this research process for the elderly in your life. It is clear that not everything is provided, and more research will need to be conducted however, the information is true and pure as well as extremely helpful for families.