Nursing Homes

Effective Care Plan Meetings


If you have a loved one in a nursing home then you should be invited to attend a quarterly meeting to discuss how your loved one is doing and determine what course her care should follow going forward.  These meetings are usually called "care plan meetings/conferences" and they are required if the facility accepts Medicaid and/or Medicare.  

These meetings should not be taken lightly.  You should attend the meeting if at all possible, at least via speaker phone, and you should go there fully prepared with a list of specific questions for the nursing home staff.  This is your best opportunity to voice your concerns and determine whether your loved one is getting the best possible care.  This is also your chance to provide the staff with background information that could prove helpful in formulating the care plan.

I have been appointed many times by local probate courts to act as the conservator for seniors when family members and friends are unable to do so.  This means I have attended innumerable care conferences and I usually pose the following questions, among others depending on thes ituation, to the staff:

Have there been any notable changes in the resident's condition since the last meeting?  If so, what was the cause?

Is the resident participating in the facility's recreational/social events?  If not, can steps be taken to facilitate his/her participation?

Have there been any visitors for the resident since the last meeting?  If so, have those visits been helpful or detrimental to the resident's spirits?

What specific therapies are being provided?

Are there any roommate issues I should be aware of?

Is the resident short on any personal items (toiletries, clothes, reading material, etc.)?

These are some of the standard questions I usually ask.  However, every resident is different. So I suggest asking the above-mentioned questions as well as questions that are specific to your loved one's situation.

What are the Odds of Nursing Home Placement?

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Whenever I sit down with clients to plan ahead for Medicaid eligibility we spend a lot of time walking through the worst-case scenario of permanent nursing home placement, thereby triggering approximately $12,600 per month in nursing home fees (Connecticut is the 2nd most expensive state in the U.S. when it comes to nursing home care).  But it's also important to at least consider the possibility that the client will never actually need to be placed in a nursing home. 

There is no "crystal ball" to use and nothing can be guaranteed, but there are factors to consider when trying to determine the odds that you will need permanent nursing home placement at some point in the future.

Is there a history of dementia and/or Alzheimer's Disease in family?  It seems like these are the types of conditions that most often trigger the need for long-term nursing home placement, and they are very hereditary.  Other issues like diabetes, a heart condition, a bad hip etc. can usually be managed adequately at home.  

Do children, grandchildren and other family members live nearby or are they beyond driving distance from your home?  The larger the local support network, the less likely that you will need to be permanently institutionalized.  

How extensive are your liquid assets?  Even if you don't have long term care insurance in place, the more you have in investments, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc., there is a greater possibility that you will be able to provide yourself with home health care and/or companionship to keep you in the community.

I always advocate for planning for the worst and hoping for the best.  However, you need to realize that future nursing home placement is not a "given", and if the chances of requiring institutionalization are remote based on your own set of personal circumstances then you should factor that into your planning. 

DISCLAIMER: This blog does not offer legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.  If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog.