The Medical economics, managed care, governmental cut-backs, each a catalyst for downsizing has created a climate of unprecedented financial pressures. Consequently, new alliances and strategies for growth are at the forefront. Emerging as a viable affordable health care alternative, adult day care is such an alliance.
Adult day care, a community-based program designed to meet the needs of functionally impaired adults through an individual plan of care, is composed of 5-8 hours of care/ programing including door-to-door transportation and lunch for adults 18 and over. It is a program designed to serve adults who may be physically impaired, who may have some form of dementia, and who may need special supervision, increased social opportunities, assistance with personal care or other activities of daily living.
Senior citizens, wheelchair bound or ambulatory, may not as yet require the services provided by a nursing home; a center very likely, will be all the support necessary for these individuals. Thus, adult day care meets the needs of the frail elderly and provides a cost efficient alternative to institutionalization.
Professional nurses can have a tremendous impact on society in adult medical day care. By daily evaluation of the frail elderly, nurses can recognize and interpret the signs of a potential medical problem and often prevent a medical emergency. Professional nursing is the basic premise upon which the cost saving centers are based; without which centers cannot function efficiently.
The financial insensitive to start one's own facility is excellent. States now provide a Medicaid Waiver which allows people to stay in their own homes; grant money and Veterans benefits are also available. Moreover, these programs can be enhanced by providing revenue producing ancillary services such as nursing services, geriatric nurse practitioners, medical care, rehabilitation, occupational, physical and speech therapies, family support, nutritional counseling, mental health services, medication reviews and case management for those senior citizens coping with multiple health problems. These services may be billed to Medicare. These programs reduce geriatric hospital stays and re-admissions by providing an additional discharge option.
This type of facility requires the least amount of "start-up" capital when compared to other health related facilities. Some adult day care centers were started in churches. This enabled these centers to have an initial client-base from the congregation. Thus, because of their low rent involvement their start-up capital was minimal.
The demand for these centers continues to grow. By the year 2020, it is estimated that our nation's elderly population will increase to over 53 million.
In this complex world, where our technologies may sometimes compromise our ideologies, there are some justifiable concerns over the quality and quantity of care being received by our frail elderly. Whereas, with adult medical day care, the frail elderly can obtain the medical and social assistance they require, and the cost savings pressures of managed care and downsizing may be satisfied.