A group of the nationÛªs leading health, consumer, and aging advocates has formed a new alliance, The Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA), which aims to broaden efforts to improve quality of care to include community-based settings as well as nursing homes. It will do so by fostering ÛÏperson-centeredÛ quality measures for people who need long-term services and supports to enhance their quality of life, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and utilizations, and decrease costs.
ÛÏThe way we currently measure the quality of long-term care in this country focuses too much on clinical services delivered in nursing homes. The perspectives of consumers and their family caregivers have largely been ignored,Û says Alliance Chair Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, Marion S. Ware Professor in Gerontology at the University of PennsylvaniaÛªs School of Nursing. ÛÏIn this rapidly changing long-term care environment, we need to advance a set of measures that reflect what is important to consumers and apply those across all settings.
The LTQA Board is comprised of 29 leaders from organizations representing caregivers, consumers, quality improvement, nursing homes, accreditation, aging issues, foundations, the federal government, private payers, and academia. The group was formed to respond to the increasing demand for long-term care and the expanding field of providers who are delivering that care, including in home- and community-based settings such as assisted living facilities and adult day care.
The Alliance will focus initially on two important health care issues that have been identified as national health priorities ÛÒ how to improve care coordination or transitions in care and how to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions among frail and chronically ill people. Naylor says that these two areas offer the greatest promise for improving quality, consumer experiences, and efficiency, as well as reducing costs.
I like two things about this – they are looking beyond the clinical to total experience and they are looking at the continuum of services not just nursing homes. I believe this is THE group to watch.