To address increased demand, the U.S. needs a comprehensive national policy for long-term services and supports (LTSS). Without it, programs will operate in isolation and fail to best serve the millions of people with health care and LTSS needs. For too long, LTSS have lacked a holistic focus to help people overcome the full range of obstacles to living in the least restrictive setting possible and maximize their potential for self-determination. A comprehensive, person- and family-centered LTSS policy would serve the needs of care recipients, support family and friends in their caregiving role, and create efficiencies in public spending.
Until a comprehensive national LTSS program is implemented, there are steps states can take to ensure that LTSS is affordable and fiscally sustainable, both to individuals and to governments, while also enhancing the financial security of individuals and their families from the potential risk of impoverishment.
A system that starts with the needs of the individual would address personal care, nutrition, housing (including home modification), mobility, social services, and medical needs. The result is fewer people in institutions and more people in their homes and communities.