It has been more than a year since COVID burst onto the world stage. Now that we have a vaccine, things should be getting better, right? Elderly loved ones are safe, right? We can all relax now, right?
To answer these questions, we consulted attorney Jerry Rothkoff and elder care coordinator Kathleen Magee, both of Rothkoff Law Group, a Life Care Planning Law Firm that serves clients in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. Both believe that the pandemic has laid bare longstanding cracks in the nation’s long-term care system, and both agree that this is no time to let down your guard. “The age of COVID has created new problems layered on top of the ones we were already addressing for our clients, especially those living in long-term care facilities,” Kathleen said. “When the facilities started restricting outside visitors, communications between residents and family members became much more difficult. Family members have had to deal with everything from a distance as contact with the community was limited due to staffing challenges and other issues taking precedence. It has been tough on everyone.”
If you’re not able to check in on your loved one to ensure they are getting quality care, what do you do? This is a question that millions of family caregivers have been asking throughout the pandemic. Fortunately, people working with Life Care Planning Law Firms have an easy answer. “They have a care coordinator to address their concerns, stay on top of things, and advocate on their behalf,” Kathleen explained.
Jerry Rothkoff believes that advocacy is needed now more than ever, especially as outbreaks at long-term care facilities continue to mount, and people who were considering moving into a facility have second thoughts. “Older adults who would have moved into a facility had it not been for COVID are receiving care at home,” Jerry said. “It is difficult to navigate the resources needed to care for a loved one at home. Working with a Life Care Planning Law Firm can make everything easier. From assessing needs, to finding providers, to coordinating care, advocating for quality care, and helping family caregivers make difficult decisions, Kathleen adds tremendous value to the equation. That value is even greater in the age of COVID.”
Jerry tells the story of one client, an elderly woman living in a local nursing home who had lost her bottom dentures. Due to COVID visitation restrictions, the nursing home refused to let a dentist enter the facility, which meant that the woman’s dentures couldn’t be replaced, and the woman couldn’t eat properly. What does do family caregivers do in a situation like that? If you have Life Care Plan, the answer is simple. “You pick up the phone and you call or text your elder care coordinator,” he explained. “You tell her about the situation and then let her handle it with the facility. I get involved if needed. That’s all it takes.”
If a situation needs to be escalated, it’s comforting to know that you have a law firm on your side. “There’s nothing like getting a letter from an attorney to make providers sit up and take notice,” Kathleen added. “Our clients love knowing that we’ve got their back.”