BY CINDY HASZ, LVN, CMC
Certain truths are anything but self-evident. This is the case when trying to discern truth from fiction and marketing from reality in “Assisted Living” facilities. Assisted Living (AL) and Board and Care Facilities are a popular and rapidly growing elder care option somewhere between home sweet home and the dreaded “nursing home.”
According to the American Geriatrics Society 40% of nursing home residents are affected by depression, yet depression often goes undiagnosed or un-treated in elders living in long term care facilities.
Depression is the No. 1 under-treated illness in the geriatric population. Unlike the profile of other diseases that cluster with aging, depression does not show up on lab tests, or EKGs. It is often masked by other chronic illnesses and can mimic dementia. These and many other reasons make depression in the elderly a difficult challenge.
15 Jun 2016
09 May 2016
In 2014 in the landmark case of Jimmo v. Sebilius, the practice of denying Medicare coverage for skilled care solely because someone is not “improving” was ruled unlawful. “Jimmo” holds that upon proper showing of need, skilled maintenance therapy is covered by medicare.
04 May 2016
This battle is not for the faint of heart. The battle I speak of does not roar but whimpers on in homes and skilled nursing facilities across our nation. It is the battle for getting extended therapy for those rehabilitating from acute injury as well as those suffering from chronic degenerative diseases.
The former need therapy to get back to normal function, and the latter need ongoing therapy to simply maintain what they have and prevent further deterioration. In both cases, getting as much therapy as possible is critical to quality of life.
It is important to educate yourself about skilled nursing facility (aka “nursing home”) discharges before you receive the notice that your loved one is going home. Know the ropes so you can make sure your loved one’s rights are being honored and the discharge will be optimum.
08 Apr 2016
Many people may think that it’s unnecessary to have a nurse or a professional advocate overseeing your loved once they move into a “nursing home” or assisted living. The truth is that your loved one’s health care still needs management and advocacy.
Some of those 165,000 people are the elderly who have been over-medicated with opioids. The elderly have a very different and diminished ability to metabolize pharmaceuticals and this is not always taken in to proper account.
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we certainly want Mom and Dad to stay home and be well cared for instead of seeing them have to go into a nursing home, assisted living or board and care facility. However, as our loved ones age most of them have some combination of chronic illnesses that present constant challenges. Sometimes they need some help in managing their health issues.
When your loved one is going home with hospice services do you know what to expect? It’s critical that you do, so let me help you understand the kind of care hospice will provide. It’s such an important time of life and the last thing you and your family need are unpleasant surprises and increased stress.
It is not unusual to hear that a family has been told by well-meaning hospital discharge planners, case managers or hospice representatives that “hospice will take care of everything.” I can’t tell you how many families have complained to me that about this kind of misrepresentation.