How Can I Find Long Term Care for My Child with Disabilities?
Before you took the substitute teaching job at the Young Adult Program you had no idea what the flat roofed one story brick building behind your daughter’s middle school was used for. Although you had parked in the parking lot by the building for the last three years when you were waiting to pick up your daughter, you did not realize that this building was home to one of the most dynamic programs in the district. Now that you are two weeks into your six week substitute teaching job with a case management of seven students you are beginning to realize the impact of the Young Adult Program. You can not quit thinking about what these age 18 to 21 year old students will do when they have aged out of the school district’s services.
Many families find themselves looking for quality care options for their medically fragile children once they are no longer eligible for school services. The search for dedicated home health service professionals, including nurses and therapists, can be difficult and exhausting.
In 2010, of the 53.9 million school-age children who are 5 to 17 years old, about 2.8 million were reported as having a disability. By 2050, just 40 years later, the number of individuals using paid long-term care services in any setting will likely double from the 13 million using services in 2000, to 27 million people. This number includes all of the disabled population who live at home, residential care centers such as assisted living, or skilled nursing facilities. Because the only way to provide quality care for these individuals is to limit the number of students in any one case management load, this expected population means that millions of future caregivers will be needed.
According to the latest U.S. Census numbers, one in every 26 American families reports raising children who have a disability. A growing concern for our society needs to be the compassionate care, as well as the ability to maintain and enhance the loves of this growing population. While school districts and residential care centers work to maintain a case management load that is effective, it is important that as a nation we continue to recruit the best people for these careers. Respectful care for the most fragile members of our society needs to be a goal for every individual.