The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Long-Term Care Specialists is the first attempt to ask experts about the current state of long-term care (LTC) in the United States and potential reforms in the delivery and financing of LTC services. Survey findings and analysis are published in a series of articles in a special supplement to Medical Care Research and Review. This article provides background on the survey as well as an overview of the other articles in the supplement.
What the Study Found
The 1,147 survey respondents included consumer advocates/lobbyists, provider representatives, public officials, policy experts, consultants, foundation officers, business representatives, and others, providing the LTC field with an opportunity to express its opinions on the state of the industry, the nature of its problems, its dissatisfaction with past efforts at repair, and its preferences for future strategies for improvement. The survey collected information on a wide range of issues associated with long-term care, with one or two questions devoted to most topics addressed. Acknowledging that while the limited number of questions on each topic helped maximize survey response rates, "doing so sacrificed depth for breadth," the authors write. "[F]uture surveys should build on the results reported here by exploring selected issues more completely."
According to the authors, results from the survey show that there is little consensus on any aspect of LTC, which, according to policy scholars, is yet another barrier to solving the problems that the field faces. "If experts cannot agree on a solution, then policy makers are loathe to try to adopt one,' the authors write. Still, there is some good news: "most respondents want to keep trying to make things better."