Step #1: Do Your Research.
Choosing a Long-Term Care facility often comes during a time of emergency and stress. It is important to remember to thoroughly examine your options rather than making a decision based on convenience or need alone. Many facilities offer special care units (e.g., a unit specifically for the care of residents with Alzheimer’s disease) that may provide resources specific to your individual needs. When making this very important decision you should do the following:(a) Locate facilities close to family members and friends. This encourages frequent visits, keeps family members actively involved in the individual’s care, allows you to meet staff members who report at different times of the day, and reinforces to the staff at the facility that third parties will be frequent visitors.
Step #2: Be Your Own Advocate.
No one knows your family circumstances better than you and that places you in the best position to voice the needs, concerns, and wants of the individual entering the nursing home or assisted living facility. You should:
(a) Learn your legal rights. You should speak to an elder law attorney who can walk you through local laws regarding residents’ rights. (Ohio residents can refer to Ohio Revised Code §3721.13).
(b) Talk to your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman program helps nursing home residents by acting on the residents’ behalf to problem-solve issues regarding the residents’ care and related circumstances. Your local Ombudsman should be able to assist you in comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the various facilities and can outline whether (and how often) they have received complaints about the facilities, and if so, whether they were resolved in a timely and appropriate manner.
(c) Know your payment options. It is possible to fund Long-Term Care expenses from several resources, including Veterans, Federal, and State government benefits, private pay and Long-Term Care insurance. It is important to inquire as to which forms of payment are accepted at each facility you are researching – not all facilities will accept all of the forms mentioned above.
Step #3: Plan ahead.
The importance of planning today rather than waiting until tomorrow cannot be emphasized enough. Working with an estate planning or elder law attorney allows you to plan proactively, which allows you to maximize the benefits available to individuals who require Long-Term Care. An elder law attorney can also assist you with reactive planning in those emergency situations for which it is impossible to prepare. It is never too late to work with an elder law attorney to help preserve your assets and maximize your legal rights. There is always someone available at AlerStallings LLC to answer any of your questions. You may reach us at 614-798-9800.