Articles Posted in Caregiving

The substantial growth of elderly adults in the United States leads to more emergency room visits and complications from injuries and diseases. To meet this challenge, the Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines were published in 2014 and later received support from several large medical organizations including Emergency Nurses Association and the American Geriatrics Society. 

The guidelines characterize the nuanced needs of older emergency department patients and current best practices to promote more cost-effective and patient-focused care. These recommendations require more staff as well as more resources. 

What Researchers Discovered

Deciding how to receive the medical care that a person needs is a critical part of the elder law process. Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of aging and medical issues can make it challenging to determine what lies ahead. Various states have also begun to attempt to resolve financing challenges associated with elder care that a growing number of Americans will face in the next couple of decades as a growing portion of the baby boomer generation requires medical care.

The Growing Need for Assistance

Any person can end up needing assistance as they age. This is true regardless of whether a person ends up facing dementia, a significant drop in eyesight, or mobility issues. The degree of assistance and how long a person faces these issues can vary substantially. A person might end up needing assistance with meals, other daily living activities, or total care for the months or years before they pass away. Other times, people end up needing total care for years. The unpredictable nature of a person’s future makes it challenging to plan ahead.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy recently published a document answering various questions about Medicare’s home health benefits. In addition to a document answering frequently asked questions, the Center also published recordings of two webinars, “Medicare Coverage of Home Health Services”, which reviews the eligibility basics for Medicare coverage of home health services.

What Do Home Health Agencies Do?

Medicare’s home health benefits are known as the Mediacertified home health agencies. These benefits have been approved by Medicare to provide the home health services that Medicare covers. The agency has agreed to receive payment from Medicare. Additionally, Medicare only pays for home health services administered by home health agencies that are Medicare-certified. 

The federal department tasked with overseeing nursing homes throughout the country recently announced it is revising its policy and will now publicly post details online about all fines received by care facilities regardless of payment status.

This new policy’s announcements occur during a period of increased criticism due to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) Care Compare website. The agency describes its website as existing to provide American citizens with details regarding matters of the level of care at nursing homes. 

Changes to Nursing Home Fines

As 2022 begins, one court case highlights the role of the Elder Abuse Act as well as the prevalent nature of elder abuse cases litigation involving trusts and estates. In the Ring case, an appellate court considered a loan scheme utilized to empty equity from a house retained as part of an estate proceeding through probate. 

Even though a loan was withdrawn by a person acting in the role of the estate’s personal representative, the court held that the representative could pursue a claim of elder abuse connected to the loss of the representative’s interest in relation to the estate. 

The Basis of the Case

New variants of COVID-19 including Omnicron and most recently IHU have led many people to prolong social distancing. Understandably, this extended isolation has had a detrimental impact on the mental health of many elderly adults. While you understandably want the best for your loved one, it’s critical to approach discussions about care with the utmost respect for your elderly loved one’s independence. This avoids not overstepping your elderly loved one’s boundaries. 

Decide If Your Family Member Needs Assistance

One of the best places to start is to create a mental checklist of what you should examine about how your elderly loved one lives. Some of the most important details you might decide to examine include:

At the beginning of January 2022, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services revised the organization’s “Frequently Asked Questions” sections. This FAQ addresses the agency’s Nursing Home Visitation Guidance. 

The revised FAQ emphasizes that visitation must be allowed at all times and states that visitation is essential for all residents. The FAQ also acknowledges that previous limitations on visits led to a decline in the physical as well as psychosocial health of residents. 

The Primary Updates

Nursing homes have been substantially impacted by the COVID-19 due to its outbreaks leading to high mortality rates among the elderly. Understandably, aggressive attempts were made to restrict the risk of Covid-19 exposure as much as possible. 

In March 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a memorandum guiding restricting visitation of all visitors and non-essential healthcare workers. Several months later, in May 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its reopening recommendation for nursing homes which provided additional guidance in dealing with Covid-19 and reopening. 

The Center notes that physical separation from loved ones has taken a substantial physical and emotional toll on nursing home residents as well as their loved ones. The Center for Medicaid Services appreciates that nursing home residents find value in the support they receive from visitations by their loved ones. Consequently, the Center recently revised its guidance addressing visitation in nursing homes during the pandemic. 

A Los Angeles judge recently ruled that Britney Spears’ father should have his position as her conservator suspended. This change will set Britney Spears on the road to freedom. Spears’ father filed to end his position after Spears filed to replace him with a professional conservator. 

The famous singer has described the conservatorship as abusive and stated that it prevented her from achieving many of her life objectives including getting married and having children.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge who heard the case had several options including terminating the conservatorship, keeping the conservatorship in place and replacing the conservator, changing nothing, or delaying a ruling and requesting more evidence.

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court acknowledged the constitutional right of a patient to decline medical treatment. Over the last couple of decades, New York state has slowly recognized that traditional health care advance directives do not sufficiently deal with mental health issues. Consequently, a large number of states have issued legislation permitting mental health care advance directives. 

New York Law and Psychiatric Advance Directives

A person can utilize New York’s Health Care Agents and Proxies law to nominate an agent to make decisions for them if that individual cannot do so. Additionally, a person might decide to write a living will containing instructions for the mental health care that person would like to receive. 

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