Will Medicaid Cover For Shower Chair And Walker – After John Hancock was hospitalized in 2019, he was left so disabled that he was unable to bathe or shower for nearly a year. Using a walker, she could barely get around downtown Baltimore, where she lived with her daughter and granddaughter. But he felt too restless to get into the bath, so one of them had to help him with sponge baths.
Then a program at Johns Hopkins called CAPABLE (Aging in the Community – Better Living for Older Adults) sent a nurse, an occupational therapist and a repairman to provide low-cost assistive devices. Mr Hancock, a retired school chef, said: “It has made a huge difference to my life.
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Over several visits, the team asked about his needs and priorities and provided him with a shower seat and rubber mat. The remodelers installed grab bars around the tub, added a shower head for the shower, and added a railing to the side of the tub. Mr. Hancock learned how to use them all.
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“I feel safe and secure,” he said recently. “I need to call someone to help me. I feel independent and I’ve been independent all my life.” Mr Hancock, who recently recovered from a stroke and is now 64, is able to bathe himself, cook for himself, manage the stairs and go to church.
How many seniors can benefit from such a simple, inexpensive, over-the-counter remedy? And how much do they actually earn?
A team at the University of California, San Francisco, examined national data and came to a tentative conclusion recently published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine: About 12 million people over 65 living in their own homes could use a safe bathing device. Two activities that seniors with disabilities struggle with are toileting and toileting. But despite the fact that nearly 5 million of them cost less than $50, this is not the case.
Looking at Medicare beneficiaries in the 2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study, researchers identified more than 2,600 people (average age: about 80) who needed such devices, based on measures such as walking on walls. Getting up from a chair without help.
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“They’re not as flexible as they used to be,” says senior physician and lead study author Dr. Kenneth Lam. “They start to worry about your parents.”
Mr. Hancock shows the grab bars and shower seats installed in the bathroom. “It was amazing,” he said. “I was so happy and excited. I haven’t showered in a year.” Credit… Rosem Morton for The New York Times
Of those who could use a shower seat and grab bars, 26 percent had none, and only 40 percent had both. In the group that could use a raised toilet or a toilet seat and a toilet handle, 44 percent had neither, and 24 percent had neither. Mining for the national population is estimated to be five million produced.
“It’s actually a technical problem that can be solved over time.” Lam. Four years later, the researchers found that most of the participants who needed help had not yet received the equipment or had died without it.
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“I can order an M.R.I. at the hospital. And it’s charging the system thousands of dollars,” said Dr. Lam. “But on the road it won’t keep patients from falling. What happens when you get home?”
Home is a place where older people want to stay. Covid-19 and its predators and restrictions have made senior living spaces increasingly popular; The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care reported that employment fell to a record low in the first quarter of this year.
“There are people all over the country whose homes are inadequate for their needs,” said Sarah Szantan, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Decade of Opportunity Program in Baltimore. Thirty-three similar programs currently operate in 18 states.
A major concern of doctors and therapists (and families) in these cases is that depression is a leading cause of hospitalization and disability for older adults. Bathrooms with hard and smooth surfaces pose a particular risk.
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With a multidisciplinary renovation, furnishing and installation team and a budget of less than $1,300 per home, CAPABLE provides low-income residents with not only bathroom fixtures, but also kitchen fixtures, well-fixed supports and other useful items. provides.
And it pays off. “The average person’s disability has been halved,” said the doctor. Szanton. “Their pain is reduced. Their ability to wash and dress is improved. “People who have been stuck on the second floor of their house for years can go on family trips.”
Eligibility can reduce Medicaid costs and create Medicare savings. Participants reported that it helped them stay at home, make their homes safer, and take care of themselves.
Elsewhere, assistive device users tell similar stories. “We all know someone whose aunt or mother can’t get out of the tub or off the floor and has bad things,” said Wendell Kornfeld, 72, who lives in Manhattan with her 83-year-old husband. .
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Ms. Kornfeld said they had two showers installed for just $120, which was “not a huge investment and well worth it for the peace of mind.”
In Mount Kisco, New York, Joan Potter admires the renovation of the apartment her late husband oversaw 20 years ago. He uses a wheelchair so their bathroom has a hand held shower, a raised toilet and a hand held shower in the main areas. Mrs Potter, now 88, has had two hip replacements and says: “I’m very grateful to have them all because I’m not very flexible anymore.”
Some amenities that help people stay at home, such as outdoor ramps and stairs, carry high price tags; Bath accessories that are common in drugstores and on the Internet are usually not available. However, cost can still be a barrier.
“Medicare covers long-term medical equipment — hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers,” said Tricia Newman, who directs the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare program. “It doesn’t cover handrails or handrails, anything used around the house.”
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With the new bars, Mr. Hancock can manage the stairs again. Credit… Rosem Morton for The New York Times
Medicare Advantage plans have more flexibility, but the Kaiser study found that only six percent of beneficiaries were in plans that covered toilet safety equipment.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recently announced federal program, which provides a $30 million home replacement program for low-income homeowners age 62 and older, is a helpful but small step. .
Also, cost is not the only barrier to assistive devices. “All systems have to be in place to make this happen,” said Dr. Lam. Sometimes when faced with the challenges of selecting, configuring, and installing the right equipment, “it’s not even for the people who want it.”
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And most leaders don’t want them. “These are symbols for people who have lost control,” said Marci Gleason, a social psychologist at the University of Texas who studies such issues. “Needing these devices is like an addiction — even though they help us be independent.”
For ten years, Karen Perez cared for her late parents as they aged in their Chicago home. In his late 70s, his father, who was being treated for cancer, worried every time he stepped in and out of the old-fashioned clawfoot tub unaided.
He suggested a change, but “he didn’t listen.” He said, ‘I don’t need this. I’m fine,'” Ms. Perez recalled. “He embraced every independence.”
Attempting to overcome this resistance and increase the attention of primary care physicians to simplify the process of obtaining and using safety equipment, other programs, such as affordability and treatment policies, require multifaceted efforts.
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But it may also require a change in perspective. Mrs. Perez, 50, and her husband may be years away from toilet and shower seats, but they’re already talking about them.
In their other house? “Sure, take the luggage,” he said. – I saw how important it is for your family to support you and not prevent you from maintaining your independence.