Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Preparation for Nursing Home Care

As promised, here is a list of the steps we've followed thus far as we prepare my mom, who has Alzheimer's, for nursing home care. I've made the list brief so as not to muddy the waters with details from our situation, which undoubtedly differs from yours. Find experts and talk with them; your Area Council on Aging and the administrator of the nursing home you've chosen for your loved one are good starting points. It is best to find an attorney who is an elder law expert to create the necessary documents:

1.  If the patient has dementia or may become unable to make decisions for him/herself, a trusted relative/friend needs to obtain Durable Power of Attorney for health care and financial needs on behalf of the patient.
2.  Living Will and Do Not Resuscitate documents if desired
3.  Personal Care Agreement (Advance Contract)--if a family member will be paid to provide care, you need a document that delineates the services that will be provided, and may protect the salary paid from a recapture of funds if the patient draws Medicaid.
4.  Calculate if and when you will need to apply for Medicaid.
5.  Veterans' benefits--If your loved one is a veteran or a spouse of a veteran, find your local Veteran's Administration representative to check eligibility for benefits.
6. Pre-assessment screening--In Kansas, this is referred to as a "care assessment;" I was told other states call it by a different name; it is a federally mandated pre-assessment screening and resident review (PASSR) that is required prior to nursing home placement. Nursing homes are required by law to have this form on file.
7. Dental and physical evaluations and necessary treatments.
8. Consider an appointment for your loved one with the facility's Medical Director to help him/her get to know your patient and medications
9. Prescriptions for all medications in their original containers
10. Communicate with nursing home staff--again, and again.  This is SO important. Help them to understand your patient's needs, habits, and daily routine to provide the smoothest possible transition.

As we move along in this process I'll add to this list. Of course this is not meant to be a guideline for anyone else--find the professionals you need to guide you through the process--but I hope this info can provide a helpful starting point.  Prayers are appreciated as we prepare my sweet Mom for nursing home placement. 

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