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July 28, 2023
Chanee D. Fabius
Safiyyah M. Okoye
Mingche M. J. Wu
Andrew D. Jopson
Linda C. Chyr
Jennifer L. Wolff
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Context: Long-term services and supports (LTSS) in the United States are characterized by their patchwork and unequal nature. The lack of generalizable person-reported information on LTSS care experiences connected to place of community residence has obscured our understanding of inequities and factors that may attenuate them.
Methods:We advance a conceptual framework of LTSS-relevant environmental domains, drawing on newly available data linkages from the 2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study to connect person-reported care experiences with public use spatial data. We assess relationships between LTSS-relevant environmental characteristic domains and person-reported care adverse consequences due to unmet need, participation restrictions, and subjective well-being for 2,411 older adults with disabilities and for key population subgroups by race, dementia, and Medicaid enrollment status.
Findings: We find the LTSS environment is highly associated with person-reported care experiences, but the direction of the relationship varies by domain. Measures of neighborhood social and economic deprivation (e.g., poverty, public assistance, social cohesion) are highly associated with experiencing adverse consequences due to unmet care needs. Measures of the health care and social services delivery environment (e.g., Medicaid Home and Community-Based Service Generosity, managed LTSS [MLTSS] presence, average direct care worker wage, availability of paid family leave) are inversely associated with experiencing participation restrictions in valued activities. Select measures of the built and natural environment (e.g., housing affordability) are associated with participation restrictions and lower subjective well-being. Observed relationships between measures of LTSS-relevant environmental characteristics and care experiences were generally held in directionality but were attenuated for key subpopulations.
Conclusions: We present a framework and analyses describing the variable relationships between LTSS-relevant environmental factors and person-reported care experiences. LTSS-relevant environmental characteristics are differentially relevant to the care experiences of older adults with disabilities. Greater attention should be devoted to strengthening state- and community-based policies and practices that support aging in place.
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The Milbank Quarterly is an editorially independent multidisciplinary journal that offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.