Two new studies paint a bad picture for Kentucky and its quality of elder care. Both the AARP and the United Health Foundation rank Kentucky among the worst states in long-term care and/or quality of life for people over 65.
AARP Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard
AARP just released its second edition of the State Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Scorecard; the first edition was released in 2011. Each state was ranked according to five dimensions:
- affordability and access,
- choice of setting and provider,
- quality of life and quality of care,
- support for family caregivers, and
- effective transitions.
Each of the five dimensions has 3-6 indicators within it.
Eight States in the Top Tier
Eight states—Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, and Wisconsin—ranked the highest across all five dimensions. The report stated: “These eight states clearly established a level of performance at a higher tier than other states—even other states in the top quartile. But even these top states have ample room to improve.”
Six States in the Bottom Tier
Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Indiana rank at the bottom, with each in the worst quartile in at least four of the five categories. Kentucky ranks dead last, at #51 (out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia).
Among the five indicators, Kentucky was worst (#51) in Affordability and Access; #50 in Choice of Setting & Provider; #50 in Quality of Care & Quality of Life; #46 in Support for Family Caregivers; and, #42 in Effective Transitions.
Performance was also measured against the first scorecard, from 2011. For Kentucky, among 17 indicators that could be evaluated for a trend since 2011, the results were as follows:
- Five indicators showed substantial improvement
- Nine indicators showed little or no change
- Three indicators showed substantial decline
AARP reports that “LTSS performance is gradually improving, both nationally and in most states.”
Similar Findings from United Health Foundation
The United Health Foundation has published a 2014 edition of its “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report.” This is the second year that foundation has assessed the overall health of populations 65 years and older by state.
A panel of experts ranked states according to four health categories: Behaviors, community and environment, policy, and clinical care. The top five ranking states were:
3. New Hampshire
The bottom five ranking states were:
For Kentucky specifically, the experts identified three challenges. They are: (1) Highest prevalence of physical inactivity, (2) High rate of preventable hospitalizations, and (3) Many poor mental health days per month.