July 14th, 2010 at 12:38 pm
Bookmark and Share

Change is Certain

by Isabel Fawcett, SPHR

I still remember my last day in my former paid employment. It was election night 2008 – a night I will remember having nothing to do with political persuasion. As I walked away from my former office building for the last time, a stranger walked in the opposite direction headed toward me.

There was synchronicity in our equally weary footsteps, it seemed.  I’d raised my head just in time to see the stranger’s lowered head and presidential campaign paraphernalia. One of the signs was emblazoned with the words “Change We Can Believe In.” I smiled. My only thought as I looked ahead and beyond into the night sky was what my Dad always said. “The only permanent thing in life is change.”

So life goes – chock full of changes that would make any reasonable person’s head spin. I believe it was Plato who may have said, “Everything flows. Nothing stands still.”

Just as my care journey has flowed since I left paid employment to become a full-time caregiver, healthcare’s landscape continues to change, in some ways for the better. With Baby Boomers aging, it seems that all of the stops are being pulled out to manage how our society cares for those who are older and chronically ill.

1. All things electronic are here. Electronic medical records, electronic computer tablets and operating room technology are widely used. Robotic nurse technology is being tested in Japan with targeted exportation as early as 2011. That’s next year!

2. Nursing schools and associations are waving the geriatric nursing banner hoping to attract more nurses to geriatric practice.

3. Policymakers, including Medicare officials and others, are on a mission to reduce and contain healthcare costs, be it through possible reimbursement rate reductions to physicians, and/or penalties to acute care institutions for perceived unnecessary hospital re-admissions within 30 days of discharging Medicare patients.

4. The 2010 Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) brings massive healthcare reform into our aging lives, including legislatively mandated insurance coverage with administrative penalties to be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service for anyone who remains uninsured.

With social changes swirling all around, family caregivers and independent patient advocates for elders are more important than ever. While caring for our elders, if we haven’t already done so, this may be a good time to start planning ahead for our own long-term care needs. Change is in the air.

Posted in Caregiving, Health Insurance | No Comments »
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply