Because of frailties of aging or an intellectual/developmental or physical disability, many people need help accomplishing activities of daily living and caring for their health. This help, referred to as long-term care, includes many different services, such as personal care, housekeeping or nursing. Long-term care is provided in people's homes, in small and large residential care facilities or group homes, in nursing facilities and in the workplace.
Most long-term care is actually provided by family members, and people pay directly for a lot of the care they receive. Yet the government in Wisconsin still spends more than a billion dollars a year paying for care that Wisconsin residents themselves cannot afford.
To help determine how to improve long-term care, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services spent more than two years during the mid-1990s gathering information not only from people who need long-term care, but also their relatives and service providers, as well as experts and taxpayers.
A new plan called Family Care was proposed in 1998 for consideration by citizens and their elected representatives.