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WYO Pride in Long-term Care Scorecard

PHOTO: According to a new scorecard from AARP, Wyoming is ranked as one of the best states in the nation when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents. Photo credit: Microsoft Images.
PHOTO: According to a new scorecard from AARP, Wyoming is ranked as one of the best states in the nation when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents. Photo credit: Microsoft Images.
June 24, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - According to a new scorecard released by AARP, Wyoming is one of the best states in the nation when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents.

The state was graded for affordability and access, quality of care, and choice of setting, among several other categories. Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President for Public Policy with AARP, says Wyoming scored well for boosting the percentage of Medicaid long-term care funds that support care at home, and adds at-home care is what most people want. She cautions Wyoming does need improvement in supporting family caregivers, especially those who juggle jobs and family.

"Some states are beginning to pass laws to protect the employed caregiver from being discriminated against if they have to take time off from work to provide care," says Reinhard. "I would encourage Wyoming to take a look at that."

Reinhard also says the state needs a one-stop shop for caregiver information, because details on resources can be fragmented.

"Transitions" was another category of the report, which tracked how well care at home happened after a hospital or nursing home stay, or rehabilitation treatment. Reinhard urges hospitals to focus more on educating caregivers during those transitions to prevent re-hospitalization.

"You may have to give medication, and in fact, you may even have to give the medication through intravenous methods," says Reinhard. "Well, how do they do that? Medical professionals need to show caregivers how to do this, because it can be pretty scary for someone who's never done it before."

Reinhard notes every action a caregiver undertakes saves the state money by keeping loved ones out of expensive nursing homes - yet caregivers receive no compensation for providing personal care, transportation, or even complex medical tasks.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY