Housing insecurity: A managed care solution

For residents of assisted living facilities, especially those living with a disability or dementia, the benefit of housing, food and access to care is a critical component impacting health. Absent the consistency and security that assisted living facilities provide, these individuals can experience a range of both physical and behavioral health issues—especially when compounded with potential homelessness.

For close to 100 residents at a Pasadena, Texas assisted living facility, this scenario became a reality the day before Thanksgiving in 2021. Families and guardians of Pine Tree Assisted Living residents were told that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission had closed the facility due to serious health and safety concerns. All residents—many of whom have existing behavioral health challenges and rely on Texas' STAR+PLUS program—would need to find new housing within 24 hours. Fortunately, more than one-third of these residents were members of UnitedHealthcare.

Assisted Living Facility Facts1

communities in the U.S.

of residents have some form of dementia.

of residents need help with walking and/or bathing.

The UnitedHealthcare team responded swiftly, dispatching care teams that included behavioral health specialists to help the members cope with the transition. A housing navigator, secondary care providers, service coordinators and community resource partners collaborated to connect each of the members to safe alternative housing that was both near their support systems and equipped to support their unique care needs and maintain the same level of care. The team made certain that the members’ belongings arrived at their new homes, and in some cases, helped the members pack moving boxes.

Throughout the crisis, advocates worked with members to ensure:

  • No disruption in services, including already scheduled or needed care appointments
  • Necessary health and hygiene items needed were available
  • Transportation was arranged for care visits
  • Member concerns and preferences were listened to and supported
  • Pets got the vaccinations necessary to accompany residents to their new facilities

While the members were caught off-guard by losing their homes, the speed at which their housing insecurity was resolved went a long way toward healing. This is whole-person care in action. And it's just one example illustrating why managed care is so important to those who need long-term services and supports such as assisted living care.

Whether the need is for reliable transportation, nutritional food or stable housing, managed care can help to ensure that need is met. Housing stability is a key factor in economic stability—the leading factor in social determinants of health2—it represents one of the best opportunities to impact health outcomes and health inequities.

For the residents of Pine Tree, who were more at risk due to behavioral health challenges, instability in housing could have easily resulted in several negative consequences:

  • Loss of access to familiar caregivers
  • Weakened connections to friends and family
  • Increased stress or anxiety
  • Loss of emotional support systems
  • Food insecurity

Fortunately, members benefited from the coordinated approach offered by managed care.

What services do assisted living facilities typically provide?1

  24-hour supervision and assistance

  Exercise, health and wellness programs

  Housekeeping and maintenance

  Meals and dining services

  Medication management or assistance

  Personal care services

The benefits of managed care shine through

For some of our members, this transition was made even more difficult because they had no family or guardian to help them through it. But with the UnitedHealthcare team on their side during the process, they successfully relocated within a tight timeframe.

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