Accompanying care associated with lower healthcare costs and positive health outcomes

Accompanying care associated with lower healthcare costs and positive health outcomes

New studies suggest that companion care can play a major role in improving the lives of older adults and addressing a number of challenges emerging across healthcare.

Nobody understands this better than Papa, a “family on demand” startup. The company commissioned a series of studies that examined the impact of companion care on public health.

Founded in 2017, Miami-based, Papa is a membership-based platform that mostly connects college students – or “Papa Pals” – and seniors. Papa Pals provides companionship and general assistance to seniors – mostly at home – as well as transportation and similar task-based assistance.

Currently, Papa works with about 100 health plans and employers.

One study, an analysis of claims by an actuarial firm using data from the SummaCare insurance plan, found that 1,420 Medicare Advantage (MA) members who participate in Papa companion services experienced a significant decrease in emergency department (ED) use and hospital readmissions. .

In fact, when compared to SummaCare members who did not use the services, Papa members had 34% fewer users with high ED and experienced an 11% drop in readmission rate after enrolling in Papa.

“Without having social support to help out with more of those tangible things, like getting healthy foods, taking medications, or even just offering companionship and having someone to talk to intangibly, it puts a person at risk of being re-accepted,” said Kelsey McNamara, principal. Research in Baba, for Home Health Care News. It’s the same with regular excessive use of the emergency department. Without someone to help you navigate all the complexities of the healthcare system, that really leads people to a crisis-driven way to get care in the emergency department.”

Another study looked at PAPA members, 65 and older, across health plan partners and found that escort services reduced loneliness among program participants. This means that 60% of the “severely lonely” individuals who participated in their health plan’s Papa program experienced significant improvement.

Additionally, 60% reported that their mentally unhealthy days decreased by more than six days, and their physical unhealthy days decreased by two days.

“There is a lot of research showing that feeling lonely or socially isolated increases the risk of early death, and increases the risk of a number of other chronic conditions,” McNamara said. “If you can reduce the burden of loneliness or social isolation that someone experiences, then you can reduce those health risks.”

This saved me approximately $1,728 annually for unhealthy days alone.

“Addressing the social drivers of health, including loneliness and social isolation, can have a profound impact on outcomes, cost, and quality of life,” said Elaine Rudy, BABA’s vice president of health and social impact, in a press release.

A third study found that escort care helps address health disparities among low-income individuals.

Specifically, members of MA plans and dual eligible special needs plans (D-SNPs) experienced severe loneliness at an average rate 50% higher than the MA population. Their physically unhealthy days were also 18% higher in comparison.

The study found that the D-SNP population had a 10% higher PAPA activation rate.

“Low-income individuals face many different complex social needs and health challenges,” McNamara said. “Traditionally, they’re really hard to come by. Often hard to get them involved. However, our results indicate that these lower-income populations are very receptive to companion care programs like Papa, and they have had a higher activation rate than traditional Medicare Advantage members. This really underscores the higher needs they face.

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