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 peoples 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. In his February 2006 State of the State speech, Governor Doyle announced plans to expand Family Care statewide and eliminate waiting lists for community-based long-term care programs during the next five years.