How does Illinois measure on long-term supports and services?

AARP, the Commonwealth Foundation and the SCAN Foundation recently released a detailed state-level report on long-term care measures: “Raising Expectations”.  This scorecard takes a look at long-term services and supports for older adults, people with physical disabilities, and family caregivers.

What is Long-Term Care and What are Long-Term Services and Supports?

A brief primer on long-term care (LTC):
  • LTC covers a broad range of services and supports for individuals requiring medical and/or social care over an extended period of time.
    • This includes activities of daily living like feeding and bathing; and instrumental activities of daily living like grocery shopping and doing laundry.
    • Long-term supports and services (LTSS) can be delivered in two main areas: institutions (like nursing facilities) or the home and community based setting.
    • Currently there is a focus in the United States to ‘balance’ the LTC system; historically long-term care has been institutionalized. We are moving towards a more balanced LTC system, and eventually towards a primarily home and community based LTC system.

How Does Illinois fare?

The good news is that Illinois ranked, overall, in the 2nd quartile.  On the four main categories of measure here is how Illinois measured up:
  • Affordability and Access: 1st Quartile, ranking 12 out of 50 states
  • Choice of Setting and Provider: 3rd Quartile, ranking 33
  • Quality of Life and Quality of Care: 2nd Quartile, ranking 24
  • Support for Family Caregivers: 3rd Quartile, ranking 27
These rankings were achieved by looking at several indicators per category; for the full explanation for how they computed these findings check out the methodology site here.  For example, if you look at the Affordability and Access category for Illinois, you see Illinois’ measurements for 6 indicators.  From median cost for a private-pay nursing home stay to the ability to access LTSS through a single point of entry like the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

Specific Findings for Illinois: What Did You Find?

One thing that I found interesting is that Illinois ranks the lowest for providing nursing home care for people with low-care needs.  Illinois measured at providing low-care needs for 25.1% of the nursing home population, as compared to Maine who ranked the highest at 1.3%.  This is one area that Illinois can improve it’s long-term care system.  On the main “Raising Expectations” website, there is a great interactive function where you can compare different states on a variety of different indicators; it’s labeled “Browse the Score Card” on the right hand side of the screen. I recommend checking it out yourself and sharing what you find here.  Is there anything else that Illinois has ranked at the top or bottom? What have you found where Illinois is a leader to follow, or has room to reform? Special thanks to Bridget Murtha for editing this article; and to pjern on flickr.com for the photo.

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