A Loved One Needs Long-Term Care: What to Expect - Part 1Saturday, November 16, 2019
(Part 1 in a Series)
In this inaugural post, I decided to borrow this aptly used title from the infamous book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. Originally published in 1984, the book offers advice to soon-to-be first-time parents on, you guessed it, what they can expect when they’re expecting the birth of their first child. I think it makes for a fitting sub-title here because while all of this planning is done for the beginning of our children’s lives, we rarely have the same kinds of plans in place for our own parents or other loved ones as they, and we, approach the latter stages of our lives. So, our goal in these posts is to provide a little insight based on our experience and the time we’ve spent both assisting and observing families as they navigate through the unfamiliar and oftentimes confusing world of long-term-care. If you have any questions, feel free to respond to the posts or reach out to our office directly. We are here to help.
While there are varying levels and types of care, from living at home independently to in-home care to independent living to true assisted living or memory care facilities, among others, when a loved one needs 24/7 care and/or supervision, i.e. they cannot be left unattended, more often than not that loved one is going to need to reside in a long-term care (LTC) skilled nursing facility. And if that is the case, unless the individual/family has the means to pay upwards of $10,000/month out-of-pocket for care, long-term care Medicaid is on the horizon. When a family in this situation first comes into our office, the vast majority of the time the loved one is either (a) about to be or has been discharged from a hospital into a skilled nursing facility for rehab (most LTC facilities double as short-term rehab facilities) with Medicare/supplemental insurance covering them for a period of time (20-100 days depending how the rehab goes), or (b) is already in the skilled nursing facility and the insurance-covered rehab days are about to end. The question of that family’s mind is always the same: “What do we do now?”
Our response typically starts with the following:
- First, your loved one’s overall health and care needs are going to dictate everything else we are doing. Some families already have the answer to this when they come into our office, but others will need to check with the physical therapists, doctors, nurses or other medical personnel and see what level of care, if any, that the medical professionals suggest for the loved one once rehab ends. I’ve already mentioned some of the various types of care/care facilities out there. What, if any, benefits are available to help curb some of the costs for that care vary based on the type of care or care facility your loved one needs. For today, we are focusing on individuals who need that 24/7 level of care. And when it comes to a LTC nursing facility, the benefit we seek is Long-term Care Medicaid.
I think this would be a good place to stop today’s post. There is a LOT more to cover when it comes to LTC Medicaid, but I’ve got work to do! We will continue this discussion next time, with some more tips on what to expect when your loved one needs long-term care. For now, please take solace in the fact that, should you or a loved one find yourself in the situation described above, the LTC facility is not going to push you/them out the door. In fact, the nursing facilities are often happy to hear that a family is working with an elder law attorney and trying to get Medicaid coverage going. Medicaid, after all, keeps their lights on. Just a reminder, should you have any questions or concerns please respond to this post, your questions often overlap with someone else’s and the more interaction we have the more useful the information is that we are providing. Of course, if you’d rather discuss things privately, please feel free to contact our office as well.
Until next time,
The Woods Law Office specializes in all types of elder law and planning for long term care as well as dealing with elder estate planning. Call our office in Shelby Township at 586-532-8970 or fill out the contact form on our website to learn more about preparing for long-term care.