AARP: R.I. ranks No. 32 for long-term care of older residents

AARP'S SCORECARD FOR long-term care for older residents and people with disabilities ranked Rhode Island No. 32 in the nation. /COURTESY AARP
AARP'S SCORECARD FOR long-term care for older residents and people with disabilities ranked Rhode Island No. 32 in the nation. /COURTESY AARP
PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island ranked No. 32 of states in the nation on AARP’s scorecard for long-term services and supports for older adults, people with physical disabilities and family caregivers in a report released on Wednesday. The report weighs five categories of data: affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and…

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  1. AARP releases these “scorecards” on a regular basis, seeking to gain funding on home and community based care for the elderly. They are right to do so in Rhode Island, because that part of the long term care continuum is under-funded. But each time they do so, they proclaim that elder care in Rhode Island is terrible, and we end up with headlines like the one above. Every. Single. Time.
    Those of us in the nursing facility world then have to scramble to reassure our patients, their families, and the public that these “scorecards” do not reflect the state’s nursing home care. Why the AARP chooses to ignore the one area of elder care where we excel is beyond me, but by all objective measures, our state’s nursing facility care is excellent. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ranks nursing homes from one to five stars on quality — R.I. ranks fourth in the nation with respect to the percentage of nursing home beds in four or five star facilities. Our nursing homes score best in the country on annual regulatory inspection results. And we are routinely among the top states on patient and family satisfaction surveys.
    It really doesn’t help to be smeared on a regular basis, simply because our state is low average on the availability of home and community based supports. The staff who provide hands-on care in our nursing facilities typically work hard to provide compassionate care, to an elderly population that many in our society seem to want to forget about. They deserve to be appreciated, not overlooked, especially by the AARP.