Rural Long-term Care: What do we Need to Know to Improve Policy and Programs?

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Cutler Institute, Population Health and Health Policy, USM Aging Initiative, Health and Wellness

Publication Title

Journal of Rural Health


This article examines what is known and what we need to know about rural long‐term care populations and the formal and informal service systems that support their long‐term care needs. The article provides a framework for identifying some of the critical policy and research questions concerning the financing and delivery of rural long‐term care that merit the attention of health services researchers and policymakers. It documents differences in the demographic and health characteristics of the rural and urban elderly and in the availability, organization, and use of health and long‐term care services in rural areas that have significant implications for long‐term care policy and programs. With this background in mind, the author discusses specific topics and questions relevant to long‐term care policy and program improvements for rural communities and people: (a) the changing role of the rural nursing home; (b) residential care alternatives in rural areas; (c) health personnel and rural long‐term care; (d) the quality of rural long‐term care; (e) innovations in long‐term care financing and service delivery; (f), use of technology in rural long‐term care; and (g) the effects of Medicaid and Medicare policy changes on the rural long‐term care system.


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