Earlier this week President and CEO of Silverado Senior Living, Loren Shook spoke to the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He was invited to speak on topics related to memory-care for the forum “Until There’s a Cure: How to Help Alzheimer’s Patients and Families Now.”
Mr. Shook also serves as Vice Chair of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA). ALFA represents the assisted living industry – the owners and operators of assisted living communities and the frail elderly residents they serve.
The committee’s focus was to identify the challenges faced by people suffering from memory-impairing diseases and the struggles their families endure. They were interested in hearing what experts in the field of Alzheimer’s care were doing to improve quality of care and the approaches they had taken to reducing medical costs. Here are summarized excerpts from Mr. Shook’s testimony on Wednesday December, 8:
One of the [cost-saving] approaches that should be taken is a reduction in trips to emergency rooms… if an assisted living doesn’t have a nurse available they should have one on call… or work with a hospice.
If you have someone with COPD and you don’t have medical support to asses that person, the operator [of that facility] is going to call 911 and send that patient to the emergency room…. [However] if they have a cooperative arrangement with a good hospice company they could get a nurse out there and addresses that problem with the physicians. Easily taken care of right on site and you reduce the pain and suffering and inconvenience of having to move them from the nursing home. The hospital then has to admit them [adding even more cost].
There are also many other tools to cut cost, for example we [Silverado Senior Living] reduce the use of prescription medications and that is a cost savings right there, Medicare is usually picking up that cost.
We need to shift the focus from paying for treatment and paying instead for results. Right now our whole system is set up [to pay] for the number of treatments that have been done to you; it doesn’t mean it’s going to make you better.
See Mr. Shook and other leading experts in the field of Alzheimer’s research give their insights on how care for the cognitively-impaired can be improved in the United States: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/AlzheimersC