Addressing the Looming Demand for Care as Americans Age: How Nurses are Reshaping Long-Term Services and Supports

Issue 24 of Charting Nursing's Future explores nurses' role in designing and implementing programs that improve options for older Americans.

A medical assistant checks a patient's pulse.

By 2050, the number of Americans age 65 and older is projected to almost double to about 84 million. With 70 percent of older Americans expected to seek assistance in maintaining their health and well-being, policymakers, insurers, health care providers, and consumers must find effective and affordable ways to harness the health care workforce to provide long-term services and supports (LTSS) to this population.

Nurses have developed many creative, sustainable, and compassionate ways to care for individuals who, because of disability, frailty, or illness, cannot care for themselves. Through advocacy and education and by spearheading and implementing novel programs, nurses are making it easier for older, chronically ill individuals to stay healthier, remain in the community with their families, and avoid developing expensive debilitating conditions. The 24th policy brief in the Charting Nursing’s Future series, “Addressing the Looming Demand for Care as Americans Age: How Nurses Are Reshaping Long-Term Services and Supports,” describes some of these LTSS programs, their potential to reshape care for older Americans, and policies that could facilitate their widespread adoption. 

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This article is part of the January 2015 issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge, a monthly email newsletter from RWJF featuring timely news and in-depth information about research, conferences and grants, our partners, and other organizations working in this field.

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