Improving Dementia Long-Term Care: A Policy Blueprint

Improving Dementia Long-Term Care: A Policy Blueprint

Improving Dementia Long-Term Care: A Policy Blueprint

Improving Dementia Long-Term Care: A Policy Blueprint

Synopsis

As millions of Americans struggle to help loved ones with dementia, policymakers should consider more ways to improve long-term services and supports for the soaring numbers of people with the debilitating condition and their caregivers, a new RAND Corporation study says — and it offers possible ways to do so.

Excerpt

In 2013, Michael D. Hurd, the director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging, and his colleagues published landmark research in the New England Journal of Medicine on the monetary costs of dementia in the United States. They estimated that dementia, with costs of $159 billion to $215 billion annually, takes a higher economic toll on the nation than heart disease or cancer. Based on the significant implications of this information, Michael D. Rich, president and chief executive officer of the RAND Corporation, tasked a team of investigators to consider public policies that improve long-term services and supports for persons with dementia and the family and friends who provide care for them, often at the cost of the caregiver’s own health status and financial assets. With the generous support of a gift from longtime RAND benefactor Charles J. Zwick and RAND Health, this study builds on the work of Hurd and others at RAND with nonpartisan, objective research to propose a blueprint for policy options identified by a range of stakeholders. RAND then evaluated these policy options on impact and feasibility metrics. This blueprint offers policy options to help decisionmakers improve the delivery of long-term services and supports, to bolster the workforce that provides those services and supports, and to outline financing solutions, with a focus on the needs of persons with dementia and their caregivers. These policy options serve as a foundation upon which to engage stakeholders in a larger debate and to build consensus on a set of policy recommendations.

This report results from the RAND Corporation’s Investment in People and Ideas program. Support for this program is provided, in part, by the generosity of RAND’s donors and by the fees earned on client-funded research. The research presented herein was conducted jointly by RAND Health and RAND Labor and Population, divisions of the RAND Corporation.

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