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Iowa Long-Term Care: A Synthesis of Consumer and Provider Research

During 2003, AARP Iowa cooperated in a four-phased research initiative to investigate strategies for redesigning Iowa's long-term care (LTC) system to improve services for all Iowans needing LTC, especially those requiring financial assistance to pay for care. This report highlights the findings of all research components (a consumer survey, an LTC provider survey, a set of three focus groups of LTC service consumers, and a set of four focus groups of LTC service providers), synthesizes key themes, and sets forth a series of action recommendations for improving services and service delivery. Key recommendations emerging from the multi-phase research include:

  • Explore options for raising public awareness about LTC services.
  • Inform and educate physicians and other key health care providers about LTC system options and funding mechanisms.
  • Create a "no wrong door" system for delivering services and accessing the LTC system.
  • Investigate strategies and options for sharing information among provider agencies serving the same individual.
  • Use electronic technology to enhance the system and to reduce stress among service users.
  • Research the underlying causes for delays in obtaining approval and initiation of services through Title XIX.
  • Design an LTC delivery system that is built upon "resource flexibility" within the context of current programs, eligibility criteria, and compliance standards.
  • Investigate strategies to reduce the stigma associated with accessing LTC services and financial assistance.
  • Create an early warning system to identify community-dwelling, high-risk persons and link them to appropriate and needed services.
  • Investigate gaps in affordable assisted living programs, the reasons for those gaps, and options for expanding the range of available community-based LTC options.
  • Stabilize state funding levels for home and community-based care.
  • Explore options for reducing health care professional staff shortages while maintaining quality of care standards.

The report was prepared by Anita Stowell-Ritter of AARP Knowledge Managements who may be contacted at 202/434-6205 for further information. (88 pages).

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