The latest national ranking on meeting the needs of older people who require long-term care puts South Dakota right in the middle. The AARP Scorecard shows the state is 24th overall in long-term care. But the average rating doesn’t necessarily reflect success or failure in multiple categories.
Despite its overall rating of 24th in the country, South Dakota ranks 5th in the nation in a dimension of care labeled Quality of Care and Quality of Life. Erik Nelson with AARP South Dakota says people in the state take pride in their commitment to long term care.
"It’s a testament to starting with our nursing home residents and our seniors in South Dakota but also to the health care officials that have the facilities in South Dakota to the employees that work at our long term care facilities," Nelson says.
Nelson says people prefer to stay in their homes rather than move to nursing facilities, and South Dakota can expand support for keeping people as independent as possible.
The AARP Scorecard shows the state ranks 40th in affordability and access to long term care. South Dakota is 43rd in the category examining choice of setting and provider. Nelson says health care leaders need to think of innovative ways to improve.
"We are obviously a rural state, and we are obviously an aging state. And it’s going to be important in the short term and the long term to continue to think about ways that we can provide service and support for our seniors, whether it’s in nursing home settings or home and community-based settings," Nelson says.
The Scorecard ratings are based on five broad categories including 26 separate indicators. In two of those more specific markers, South Dakota ranks 51st in the nation. The state does capture first place in another two areas.