The senior population continues to mature, leaving agencies and health care systems looking for effective ways to provide quality affordable home care.

The VA has been leading the way in innovative home care for many years, despite all its controversies and reports of bureaucratic stumbles that have made headlines for years. Because of their strong mission, the VA continues to create functional programs amidst budget constraints and the challenge of increasing numbers of seniors. In fact, since 2000, the quantity of veterans requiring home care has quadrupled and every VA medical center across the country has been required to add a palliative care program for those in need.

Why is the VA ahead of the curve? According to available data in 2016 from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, veterans have a national median age of 64, compared to 44 for non-veterans. The senior population is growing with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, but the aging veteran population is growing even faster.

The number in the VA population over 85 years nearly tripled between 2000 and 2010, creating the need for VA to be trailblazers of sort, supporting social and behavioral components of health, in addition to physical needs. VA now allows veterans to customize their care in ways that other health systems don’t. Flexible budgets for veterans allow them to make wise personal decisions on their home care needs.

For example, VA has an open-access hospice and concurrent palliative care program. It allows disease-altering treatments to be administered alongside hospice care – something that Medicare doesn’t provide or permit.

Prior to this program, patients with kidney failure might have had to forgo dialysis in order to receive hospice care! This new approach means a senior won’t have to forgo any disease-altering treatments when electing hospice care. Hopefully, this VA example will influence Medicare to make changes, as well.

VA’s concurrent care of hospice services mixed with home care lessens patients’ pain and eases end-of-life transition, as well. Initially it was thought to be more expensive, but finally it has demonstrated that the expense of this innovative program is less expensive than the alternative. The increase of home care programs has reduced hospitalizations, reducing total health care costs also.

With the rise in health care costs of aging adults, home care services are a great part of a future solution, but it can all be confusing. Call Home Care Assistance today to help navigate through home care options for you or your loved one! Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington is an approved provider through the Veterans Choice Program.