SOURCE: Ponce de Leon LTC RRG, Inc.

June 30, 2008 12:24 ET

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.

Contact Information

  • For more information contact

    Shelly Bakker
    LarsonAllen
    612-376-4625
    Email Contact

    or

    Mechlin Moore
    Ponce de Leon LTC RRG, Inc.
    Public Affairs
    239-777-1595
    Email Contact