New Study Points to Crisis for Florida Aging Services
MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwire - June 30, 2008) - Florida faces a crisis in meeting the demand for aging services over the next 22 years as the population aged 85 and older is forecast to grow by 126 percent. This will require 15,000 more skilled nursing beds at a time when there is expected to be a severe shortage of nurses, according to a just-published study of the State's future aging service needs.
The demographic and workforce study, "Mapping the Future -- Estimating Florida Aging Services Needs 2008 to 2030" analyzes aging care demand, care-giver availability, and senior living environments. It was conducted by the research, consulting, and accounting firm, LarsonAllen, for Ponce de Leon LTC RRG, Inc., a major provider of General and Professional Liability insurance to long-term care facilities in Florida.
"The challenges facing the State of Florida in planning and providing for the needs of those aged 65 and older are daunting," said Nancy Rehkamp, Principal in LarsonAllen. "Florida must grapple with these changes sooner and with greater speed at a time when the economic outlook is less optimistic," she cautioned.
"As the number of seniors choosing home healthcare or assisted living grows, skilled nursing facilities will experience shorter stays and be exposed to more risks that require liability coverage," said Sanford "Sandy" Elsass, President-Underwriting Manager, Ponce de Leon Risk Retention Group, the study sponsor. "Risk Retention Groups owned by facilities and professional healthcare workers, will provide a stable market to fill this need," he stated.
A number of critical factors that will challenge providers of long-term care were identified in the study:
-- Despite the growing aging population, hospital use rates will continue to decline with a resulting decrease in demand for post-hospitalization skilled nursing, home care, and hospice services. -- Reduced hospital use rates will be offset by aging population growth resulting in the need for some 15,000 more nursing home beds over the next 22 years. Competition from other lifestyle choices will result in shorter nursing home stays that will focus more on post-acute recovery and rehabilitation instead of long-term care.
-- Availability of home-care givers, including family and other informal providers, is expected to decline 41 percent by 2030, leaving 420,000 more seniors 85 years and older at risk of requiring assisted living or other formal services. -- Growth in home and community-based services is expected to escalate as more seniors opt to remain in their own homes or choose assisted living facilities instead of skilled nursing.
-- A growing shortage of healthcare workers threatens to reduce the quality of care available to meet demand from the rapidly mounting aging population. By 2030, the study predicts an eight percent shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs). As of June, 2007, 43 percent of licensed RNs were over 50 years old, and 15 percent were over 60 years old.
-- Rising demand and the shortage of healthcare workers are expected to contribute to the looming crisis in aging care. Demand for RNs and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) is expected to grow by 30,000 full time equivalents (FTEs) over the next 22 years. Demand for nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal-care attendants is expected to grow by 122,000 FTEs.
-- The predicted shortage in nurses may mean that more care will have to be provided in institutional settings where the limited number of trained staff can be deployed more efficiently. This may limit customer choice and reduce timely access to professional services.
-- Over the next 22 years, the study predicts a need for nearly 160,000 new assisted living units, as 60 percent of residents who would have chosen nursing homes can be served in assisted living facilities.
-- Demand for independent living facilities is expected to grow sharply, creating a need for an additional 260,000 units, as seniors live longer, healthier lives.
-- Skilled home care services funded by Medicare, Medicaid, and other governmental sources are expected to more than double by 2030. -- Dramatic growth in home care and assisted living, as a substitute for care in skilled nursing facilities, may increase professional and general liability risks that will create a need for increased liability insurance in an uncertain market. Copies of the study may be obtained from LarsonAllen.
For more information contact Shelly Bakker LarsonAllen 612-376-4625