Senior Connection

Mar 21, 2011

UMass Boston Study Examines why Elders in Home Care Switch to Nursing Homes

A new study released in February by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston with assistance from Al Norman, Mass Home Care, looked at why elders leave home care programs and transfer to nursing homes.

The study finds that many elders have made the switch because they lacked sufficient informal caregiver support, needed 24/7 care, were considered a safety risk, or had medical and functional problems that overwhelmed their caregivers.

Other key findings of the study, Massachusetts’ Home Care Programs and Reasons for Discharge into Nursing Homes, include:

  • Doctors and hospitals account for very few referrals for home care services, 2.5 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively.
  • Approximately 3,627 elders, or 14.5 percent of those leaving the program, were discharged to nursing homes during fiscal year 2010.
  • Over a third of home care clients were taking nine or more medications.
  • Twenty-nine percent of home care clients report problems with short-term memory.
  • Seventy-five percent of home care clients are not physically able to shop, cook, or feed themselves.
  • Eighty-five percent of home care clients do not have any advance medical directives, and 55 percent have no one designated to make health care decisions for them if they become incapacitated.

One of the goals of the study was to examine why home care clients go into nursing facilities, and what types of services could help them avoid entering institutions.

Nursing home patient days in Massachusetts have fallen by nearly 30 percent compared to year 2001. “Mass Home Care, which represents 30 home care agencies across the state, is seeking additional ways to develop services to fill in the ‘care gaps’ in the current range of community options,” said Mass Home Care Executive Director Al Norman.

The Gerontology Institute study included interviews with care managers conducted by gerontology students in the College of Public & Community Service, an analysis of aggregate data for over 42,000 consumers provided by Executive Office of Elder Affairs representing three different home care programs, and a review of journal notes kept by care managers for terminated clients.

According to Norman, who served as Community Partner for the study, “Our goal is to reduce the number of elders who leave home care heading for institutions. To do that we need to learn more about what they need and how we can provide it. This is the first study that really focuses on elders at the point of discharge from home care, and from these data, we will begin to develop better programs to keep elders aging in place. We can continue to spend tax dollars smarter by mastering this issue.”

View the full report at the Gerontology Institute website.

Mar 3, 2011

Letter of Intent

For Interested Parties Applying For A Grant

The Letter of Intent should be no more than 2-3 pages, and address the following:

1. Purpose of the program

2. Which of the priorities does the program address?

3. Estimate the amount of Title III funding you will be seeking.

4. Estimate the TOTAL amount of funding needed to run the program.

5. What other funding sources will be providing money to run the program?

6. How is the program intended to operate?

7. What service area/towns do you expect to serve?

8. A brief demonstration of the need for the targeted service(s).

Need can be demonstrated by reference to CMAA, local or existing program data** that shows an increase in demand or a high level of continuing demand for the service(s) the program intends to provide.

** appropriate data might include program service statistics, CMAA needs assessment data (e.g., needs data collected in specific local service areas, and other relevant sources.

Should you have further questions, please contact John Belding at CMAA.


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.