CAREGIVINGA new scorecard on long-term services shows that while New Mexico ranks first in the amount it spends on Home and Community Based Services, it ranks 37 in support for family caregivers and 38 in the area of Quality of Life and Quality of Care. Overall the Scorecard gave the state a ranking of 14, but the individual indicators show what areas still need work.

 “Raising Expectations 2014: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers,”  is a new, comprehensive state-by-state Scorecard from AARP with support of the nation’s leading organizations behind quality long-term care, The Commonwealth Fund and SCAN Foundation.

 

The Scorecard ranks each state overall and within 26 performance indicators along five key areas: affordability and access; choice of setting and provider; quality of life and quality of care; support for family caregivers; and, effective transitions.  New indicators this year include length of stay in nursing homes and use of anti-psychotic drugs by nursing homes, raising serious concerns about the quality of institutional care.

 

New Mexico’s Ranking in those five areas are:

 

  • Affordability and Access: 12
  • Choice of Setting and Providers: 6
  • Quality of Life and Quality of Care: 38
  • Support for Family Caregivers: 37
  • Effective Transitions: 17

 

“The vast majority of older New Mexicans want to live independently, at home, as they age and most do so with the help of family or friends, serving as unpaid family caregivers,” said Gene Varela, AARP New Mexico State Director.

 

“Today, unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older New Mexicans in part because of our state’s culture – people tend to take care of family, that’s just what you do – but also because the cost of long-term care remains out of reach for many families,” Varela said.

 

In New Mexico,  more than 287,000 residents help their aging parents, spouses and other loved ones stay at home by providing assistance with bathing and dressing, transportation, finances, complex medical tasks like wound care and injections, and more.  The value of this unpaid care totals about $3.1 billion.

 

“This Scorecard shows that family caregivers need more support and that’s what we’re hoping the New Mexico Family Caregivers Task Force will achieve. AARP New Mexico is working closely with the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department and other community groups and providers to identify what resources are available for families and what is needed.”

 

The other area where New Mexico ranked low is in Quality of Life and Quality of Care. Especially low were the rate of nursing home staff turnover, 69.7 percent, which gave the state a ranking of 48, and the percent of adults age 18 plus with disabilities  in the community usually or always getting needed support, at 70.4 percent, giving the state a ranking of 35.  The section had an overall state ranking of 38.

 

“We know that improving quality of care and quality of life is a priority of the state, community service providers and long-term care facilities so we’ll continue to work with them to address these issues,” Varela said.

 

Long-term care (also called long-term services and supports) is a diverse set of services designed to help older people and those with disabilities; services can be provided in a person’s home, in a community setting such as an adult day center, or in a group residential facility like a nursing home.

 

The full state Scorecard, along with an interactive map of state rankings and information, is available at www.longtermscorecard.org.