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How should we take care of America’s seniors?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.5 million people live in nursing homes in the United States today . Most were admitted after they were discharged from a hospital following surgery or a sudden illness. A recent report2 indicates that almost one-fourth of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from the hospital were readmitted within 30 days. Not only did this cost the Medicare program $4.34 billion, it also had a significant impact on the individual. Cycling elderly and frail people in and out of hospitals can be upsetting to them and can also increase the chance they’ll experience a medical error.

According to The Commonwealth Fund, experts suggest that 28 to 40 percent of these admissions might be avoided with high-quality nursing facility care, one in which physicians, nurses, nursing-home administrators and other health-care professionals work together to promote better health while reducing costs. Fortunately, this care model exists for people living in nursing homes through most Medicare Advantage plans.

When it comes to our health, if we take the time to work together, it can pay off. A University of Minnesota study3 showed that Evercare by UnitedHealthcare’s coordinated approach to nursing-home care reduced the number of hospitalizations among nursing-home residents by 45 percent and trips to the emergency room by 50 percent.

No one likes a trip to the hospital, especially a return trip. Long-term care planning needs to start today so we can ensure more peace of mind tomorrow. For more information about the benefits of a coordinated approach to nursing home care, visit www.evercarehealthplans.com.

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