On-site hemodialysis patients can travel, too

On-site hemodialysis offers patients vital kidney failure treatment at the comfort of their home, typically a long-term skilled nursing facility. This saves on cost of transportation, is more convenient, and has been connected with better status of health because the patient is spared the physical and emotional stress of traveling to and from a dialysis center.

This can be crucial for older patients who have difficulty moving around, or are otherwise not healthy enough to be exposed to elements like wind, cold, or bright sun. Bedside hemodialysis provides the next level of care for long-term nursing home residents who have difficulty leaving their beds or rooms.

Kidney disease is very prevalent in the United States, the ninth leading cause of death across the nation. More than 23 million people in this country currently have chronic kidney disease, and 400,000 members of this group require dialysis.

The weather is warming up and families are getting ready for wedding in different cities, and this joyous time is tinged with a sadness that a loved one with kidney failure will not be able to travel to attend. After all, hemodialysis typically takes a few hours and is done several days a week. However, with some planning, you may be able to take your loved one with you on a fun family trip.

Doctor’s Orders
The first step to traveling with a parent or loved one who requires dialysis is to speak to their doctor. There are many reasons why they may not be healthy enough to travel, and only a medical professional would be able to properly assess that.

Gather Intel
Check into the health insurance situation to see what is covered. Some insurance, including Medicare, may not cover dialysis treatment at a location different from their “home” center. Same goes for “home” centers that are long-term care facilities. In that case, you may have to pay for treatment out-of-pocket.

Home Remedy
You may want to think twice about doing home hemodialysis while on vacation. Whether or not your parent has home hemodialysis, a treatment center may be the better option because you will not have to transport dialysis equipment, which can be expensive if flying, but more importantly it can get damaged. Again, this is a conversation to have with the doctor. You should also speak with the hemodialysis team at the long-term care home or dialysis center to gain some insight and get recommendations. Even if your parent prefers home hemodialysis while traveling, contact the nearest hemodialysis center when you arrive at your destination to find out what emergency care they offer and the procedure, just in case.

Long-term care insurance can be necessary for (almost) anyone

The marvels of modern medicine have extended the natural lifetime for people all over of the world, including the United States. The gift of more time is weighed down, however, with the prospect of extended time in uncertainty. The only thing that we know for sure is that we will continue to age and our health will deteriorate along the way.

 

The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that 50-year-olds in the U.S. have a 53 to 59 percent chance of living in a nursing home at some point in their lives. As the study group’s age increases, so do encounters with nursing homes. The Employee Benefit Research Institute found that from 2010 to 2013, 23 percent of people 85 years and older had an overnight stay at a nursing home. This figure may seem pretty low for many people, and indeed it would be impressive, but that 23 percent only includes individuals who survive the two-year study. When fixing this number to include those who passed away during the study, then the new figure becomes 62 percent.

 

So now that we have established that nursing home stays of varying duration are a way of life for the majority of elderly Americans, let’s look at the accessibility of nursing home care. Most people assume that Medicare will pay for long-term nursing home care, but the reality is that Medicare covers only some expenses up to 100 days in the facility, and it must be a skilled nursing facility that follows a qualifying hospital stay that lasts longer than three days. There are a lot of stipulations to Medicare’s payouts, so be vigilant about your plan and know exactly what will and will not be covered.

 

What most people overlook is that Medicare does not cover custodial care, and that is what makes up a large part of long-term care. Custodial care is nonmedical assistance like bathing, eating, dressing, and other daily activities. Medicare can cover custodial care, but the beneficiary and their family would have to liquidate most (or all) of their assets and income, as Medicare is supposed to be a last resort for long-term care coverage.

 

Long-term care coverage is designed to help people from all walks of life, but especially middle class individuals who may not qualify for full Medicare coverage and do not have the assets and income of the more affluent to pay for long-term nursing home care. Long-term coverage costs vary depending on age when the policy is bought, extent of coverage, and a few other factors, but it is offered for people of all ages.

Long-term care by the numbers

Long Term Care Facilities

Long Term Nursing Care

Long-term care can be confusing and expensive for many people, with little opportunity for perspective. Below is long-term care by the numbers to help you better understand the state of nursing home and rehabilitative care in the U.S. for the elderly population.

8 million elderly U.S. citizens experience difficulty taking care of themselves on a day-to-day basis.

Another 13 million American adults have trouble performing independent activities association with living on their own.

44 percent of men in the U.S. will require long-term care in their lifetimes.

58 percent of women in America will have need long-term care in their lifetimes.

8.5 percent of adults in the U.S. aged 65 years and older reported spending at least one night in a nursing home in the last two years (2010).

Nursing home stays increased by 40 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Home healthcare visits increased by 50 percent during the same time period.

There is a 22 percent probability that a man will need more than one year in a nursing home in his life.

For women, the probability is 36 percent that they will require more than one year in a nursing home in their lifetimes.

2 percent of elderly men require a nursing home stay of at least five years.

Women have a probability of 7 percent of needing a nursing home stay of at least five years.

The average duration of a nursing home stay for a man is 0.88 years.

For women, the average nursing home stay lasts about 1.44 years.

14 percent of Americans 71-years-old and older have dementia.

The rate of dementia among adults 65-years-old is expected to increase by 40 percent from 2015 to 2025.

64 percent of nursing home residents in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia.

13.2 percent of Americans who received professional home healthcare in 2010 had long-term care insurance coverage.

Approximately 22 percent of long-term care costs come out-of-pocket.

Medicaid covers 51 percent of long-term care costs.

28 percent of Medicaid funding paid for long-term care costs in 2013.

8 percent of long-term care delivered in America is covered by long-term care insurance.

13 percent of elderly Americans that are covered by long-term insurance.

$7.8 billion in long-term care claims were paid out in 2014.

There are about 43.5 million adult family caregivers that look after someone over 50-years-old.

14.9 million of these adult caregivers provide care for a person with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

This totals to about $450 billion in unpaid care provided by these caregivers (2009 estimate).

The average caregiver is a female (66 percent) and 48-years-old.