If you have decided that it is time to think about getting a loved one some extra care, or you have a parent in need of assisted living. You will have different issues and factors to consider.
One of those may be the consideration of choosing an assisted living facility to care for your parent. Many times common issues are ignored or hidden, but it is important for you to do research and resolve those issues as soon as possible.
Be aware that an assisted living home might try to put financial responsibility for your loved one on you as a condition for being admitted. Do not sign as a “responsible party,” without understanding what you are signing. Many people mistakenly think they are providing information as an emergency contact when what they are doing is signing to be responsible for their loved one’s expenses.
Senior living facilities are prohibited by law to require that you take on any financial responsibilities of the patient. Do not hesitate to refuse to sign anything that suggests this, especially if your parent is currently in the care of an assisted living home.
Patient Care Issues
You and your parent might not realize that you have more power than you think when making decisions regarding assisted care. This applies to the care that the resident receives. Families and seniors are allowed by federal law to make decisions about specialized care plans.
You can expect the assisted living care facility to make reasonable adjustments to your requests. An example of a request you can make is for restraints and feeding tubes to be used as a last resort. You can ask for prescription medication adjustments.
Be aware that caretakers may try to limit the amount of care they provide, or the overseeing company has more of a focus on making their worker’s lives easier.
Insurance Issues: Medicaid
Nearly half of an assisted living home’s revenue comes from Medicaid reimbursement. Medicare and private payers usually pay a higher rate than Medicaid. Sometimes assisted living centers may try to get away with providing lower class treatment to seniors with Medicaid.
Fortunately, federal law protects seniors with Medicaid status from discrimination. You need to keep an eye on your parent or loved one to make sure they are receiving the level of care you expect, and were promised by the assisted living home.
Insurance Issues: Medicare
Do not make the mistake of assuming that Medicare is a comprehensive and complete health insurance program. Your parent’s Medicare account may only allow for a short time of reimbursement for care in a senior living environment.
A link to hospital care, specific situations, and limits are common factors that affect Medicare payment. It may be linked to hospital care and limited to patients that stay at least three nights and enter the home within a certain time period after a hospital stay. Administration of medication is not covered, nor is any custodial care.
If your loved one needs rehabilitation services or skilled nursing, then Medicare will go into effect. The assisted living facility is required to notify your loved one in writing if they decide not to bill Medicare. Make sure your parent is aware that they are not bound by the facility’s decision, they can demand that the bill is submitted to Medicare.
The demand for rooms and supplies can exceed an assisted living home’s inventory. This may trigger a facility to try to evict residents that they see as “difficult.” Here are the only reasons why eviction is allowed:
- The assisted living facility is going out of business.
- Your loved one is putting another person’s health in danger.
- The safety of others is endangered by your loved one.
- There is a failure to meet financial obligations.
Written notice must be provided by the facility if an eviction notice is given. At least 30 days must be allowed before the discharge and a reason must be given why eviction is necessary. The notice must also include the assisted living’s licensing and inspection authorities phone numbers and they must also give instructions about how to appeal the decision to evict.