In the first article in the series, which appeared last month, we followed Diane Peabody, R.N., an elder care coordinator at Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, a Life Care Planning Law Firm in Carmel, Indiana, as she worked with a family to prepare for the relocation of Jolene in Florida to a nursing home near her sons in the Indianapolis area.
As we pick up the story, Diane has completed her research and has met with the sons to share the results. “I showed them the list of different facilities with available beds that offered the care their mother needed and gave them the contact information for each facility,” she explained. “I also gave them a list of questions to ask and a checklist of things to look for at each facility. It’s helpful because most families have no idea what separates a good facility from one that’s not the best fit.”
If the family had asked Diane to accompany them on facility tours, she would have done it. But the two sons didn’t need that level of handholding. The son who lived in the area was already familiar with the facilities on the list, so met with admission directors, toured facilities, and then came back to Diane with a final decision. “One of the biggest things that we do is to empower the families with the information they need to make good decisions for their loved one,” Diane notes. “It’s different for every family.”
Because Jolene was from Florida, there were health insurance issues that needed attention. Moving to Indiana would require a change in Medicare and supplemental coverage. Making the wrong move could result in coverage interruptions or a reduction in benefits. Diane contacted a Medicare insurance specialist, one of the many experts she has on her speed dial, who then guided the sons through the process of choosing the right plan. “Throughout the process, I was communicating with both sons and the Medicare expert to make sure everyone was on the same page,” Diane remembers. “And it’s a good thing because shortly after Jolene moved to Indiana, she had a fall and ended up in the emergency room. If she hadn’t had that coverage, the family would have paid out of pocket for the medical care.”
Though, in the case we’re following, Jolene was being moved into a skilled nursing facility, there are times when elders are being relocated into care settings other than long-term care facilities, such as another family member’s home. In these cases, Diane may be involved in coordinating the home care needs. If the Medicaid Waiver process is part of the client’s home care needs, Diane would likely collaborate with the case manager at the local Agency on Aging to discuss their assessment process, then provide the contacts and the resources for the client and the family to complete the Medicaid Waiver process.
So, less than a week after the process began, Jolene was being transported by Care Flight from Florida to Indianapolis where her new home was awaiting her arrival. In the third and final installment in this series, we will follow Diane as she helps Jolene get settled in the nursing home.