Anyone (and doesn’t it seem like everyone?) touched by family care giving issues knows how hard it can be to find the right services and support systems at the right time. The various levels of care, the application process and the types of care available can be difficult to navigate.
In Maine, we are fortunate to have the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) who, through funding from the Maine Health Access Foundation and the Bingham Foundation, conducted statewide listening sessions to hear first-hand the experiences of older and disabled consumers of long-term care services and supports. In addition to community listening sessions, LTCOP distributed lengthy surveys to those who required home-based care and to homemaker services. They received a strong response, showing how clearly Mainers wanted to have their voices heard.
During the listening sessions, facilitators asked the groups to address specific questions related to access and quality of long-term care services available in Maine. Several themes emerged that were compiled into a full report prepared by the Muskie School of Public Service:
- Access to affordable services at home
- Easy to understand information
- Qualified workers
- Navigation assistance
- More support for families and caregivers
- Affordable housing and food
- Improvements in the assessment process
Access to affordable services at home emerged as the most prominent theme, with concerns that focused on funding, affordability, availability and the need for home-care services for people to be able to remain in their own homes.
Reports such as these can go a long way toward fostering much-needed adjustments in the services and programs made available to older Mainers. We encourage you to read the full report and share it with anyone you think might be interested in reading it as well. If you have questions about the report, please contact the LTCOP 1-800-499-0229.