Moving to a long-term care facility or nursing home can be a shock to an individual and to the family. And you’ve probably figured out how expensive it is. With questions ranging from cost to quality of care to food choices, you may feel overwhelmed or trapped. An Aging Life Care Professional™ can help you navigate the nursing home maze and be an extra set of eyes and ears.
By Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC – Aging Life Care Association™ Member and
Fellow of the Leadership Academy
Why Nursing Home Care
There are many reasons someone may be living in a nursing home. After a hospitalization, your loved one may have been placed in rehabilitation; and during that rehab stay, it may have become clear the person can no longer live alone. If finances preclude in-home care, nursing home care can be covered by Medicaid if the individual is clinically and financially eligible. Or if the individual’s needs are so complex that the care of a registered nurse on a regular basis, a nursing home is a practical solution.
Paying for Nursing Home Care
All of a sudden you are told your loved one’s time in rehab is up and that he/she must go home or move to long-term care. While the rehabilitation stay may have been covered by Medicare, the transition to a long-term care can be confusing. You probably have figured out how expensive nursing home care is. Medicaid will pay for long-term care if the individual meets specific eligibility requirements. There are very specific rules, some depending on if there is still a spouse in the community, as well as others regarding how much money the elder can have spent for certain things. If you are confused or unsure about the Medicaid application process, reach out for professional assistance from an Aging Life Care Professional or even an Elder Law Attorney.
Choosing a Nursing Home
Which nursing home is best for your loved one? A great place to begin your research is with Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. Nursing Home Compare allows consumers to compare information based on yearly surveys conducted in person by the Department of Public Health according to strict criteria. It contains quality of care information on every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country, including over 15,000 nationwide.
For information beyond the survey, a local Aging Life Care Professional can offer up to date information and an insider’s view based on having clients at a particular facility. Staff changes frequently and having this personal, up to date view is invaluable. Aging Life Care Professionals will know the little things like whether all those activities on the calendar really happen.
Navigating the Maze
An Aging Life Care Professional can be your guide to all things nursing home. Whether you live in the same town or across the country, an Aging Life Care Professional can be your eyes and ears. These experts can also help you answer all of the questions that may be racing through your head, or that may come up along the way such as:
- Does my relative get to choose a roommate?
- Can she still have her favorite foods?
- Who is my contact person at the facility?
- Who do I tell that my mother never wears her hair that way, or that red lipstick makes her day?
- Who is responsible for laundry and should clothes be labeled?
- What if the roommate keeps the TV blasting late into the night?
Though nurses are on staff, the bulk of the care is provided by certified nursing assistants who are taking care of a number of people on a daily basis. Forming a bond with the regular CNAs that assist your loved one will help you get timely information and also go a long way towards making sure your loved one is getting the care you hope for.
Nursing homes are required to have quarterly care plan meetings to establish exactly what they are doing for a resident. There need to be goals with progress towards those goals reviewed. Having an advocate attend with you – or in your place – can be invaluable. If the Aging Life Care Professional knew your relative before placement in long-term care, they may have important history to share with the facility staff.
With experience working in and with nursing homes, Aging Life Care Professionals are great partners to work successfully with nursing home staff. Find a local Aging Life Care Expert at aginglifecare.org.
About the author: Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC is an Aging Life Care™ specialist in Brookline, MA who works with families to find solutions to complicated elder care problems. She has been a leader in the Aging Life Care Association and quoted extensively in the media as seen on her website modiglianigeriatrics.com.
This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.