Long Term Care Options: Don and Mary
When a loved one is aging or ill the subject of long term care is discussed with family over dinner, with a social worker at a hospital, with friends at a neighborhood social. The dilemma of Don and Mary is faced by millions of families. According to Spencer, Patrick and Steele (2009) older adults would prefer to remain at home, although given several options, most would prefer not to be cared for by family and friends.
What long term care options should Don consider for Mary and himself?
Don is put in the position of having to explore options for long term care for his wife Mary and for himself. Based on the description of Mary’s ...view middle of the document...
He and Mary need different levels of care, but they would still be in the same care community.
What are the requirements necessary to access the care chosen in question 1?
The best option for Mary would be a skilled nursing home but Don and his family should take several factors into consideration before deciding on which nursing home would provide the best care for his wife. Nursing home facilities often have a separate Alzheimer’s wing to meet the specific needs for residents with this type of dementia. The staff have specialized training in dementia care and the physical layout of the facility is designed to promote safety for the confused and/or wandering resident. Mary also has Sundowner’s Syndrome and requires a facility that is prepared to meet her needs in this regard. Don should look at nursing homes familiar with non-pharmacological interventions for managing someone with Sundowner’s such as brightly lit rooms and daily engaging activities (McSweeney-Feld & Oetjen, 2012).
In order to access the care settings for Don and Mary, Don will need to evaluate their finances and eligibility for coverage under their insurance and military benefits. Sometimes skilled nursing facilities require an acute care hospital stay in order to be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid funding. Seeking the counsel of a social worker or admissions director would serve Don well in this situation. He will need to assess the various nursing homes and care communities to ensure the best fit for both of them. He should go visit several communities in the area and look at the physical layout, services they offer, transportation, activities and reputation. Talking to residents, family members of residents, as well as the administrator and staff are helpful when making a decision.
If he has not done so already, Don should obtain financial and healthcare power of attorney for Mary and become her surrogate decision maker since she is not in the position to make decisions about her healthcare for herself. Additionally he should do the same for himself and execute an advance directive naming one or both of his children as surrogates for himself in the event he is not able to make decisions about his health care.
What funding mechanisms are available to Don and Mary, and how does this affect the choice of care options?
Fortunately, due to their military service, Don and Mary do have options when it comes to paying for long term care. To determine how this would affect the choice of care options available to them, Don would be best advised to meet with a representative from the Veteran’s Affairs Benefits Department. Both he and Mary qualify for benefits as retired military personnel. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) has many resources on their website, www.va.gov, including a guidebook to assist veterans and their families in navigating the governmental bureaucracy. They have a healthcare and a benefits division. The VA also has...