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What Should I Look for in a Long-term Care Facility?

If you have determined that moving your elderly loved one into a long-term care facility is the most productive choice for him or her, you have a significant amount of planning and paperwork ahead of you. You also need to find a facility that can provide the level of care that your loved one requires in a safe, clean environment. If you have never had to deal with this process or other components of estate planning, it can be daunting. But as the party tasked with power of attorney for your loved one, it is your responsibility that he or she spends these later years securely and according to the desires contained in his or her will.

In the United States, there are approximately 15,700 nursing homes. They do not all provide the same level of care. During the process of determining the right facility for your loved one, keep the following tips in mind to help you narrow down your search.

Look for Standard Safety Features

This might sound obvious, but when you are touring a potential facility for your loved one, take note of whether fire extinguishers are within reach for staff members and if each room has a working smoke detector. Does the facility have emergency exits? How about handrails in the bathroom and any inclined floors in the building?

Determine the Level of Medical Care Available

If your loved one needs specialized medical care, find out if the facility is able to provide that type of care. Also ask about how the staff is trained to handle medical emergencies, how close the facility is to the nearest hospital, and if there is a doctor or nurse practitioner at the facility at all times.

Find Out How Your Loved One Will Pay

If your loved one is a Medicaid recipient, he or she will need to be in a Medicaid-certified facility. Sometimes, facilities have space for both Medicaid and privately-paying residents. Ask about this, especially if your loved one will begin as a privately-paying resident and then switch over to Medicaid once his or her money runs out.

Also determine how residents or their families are billed and whether your loved one will need to enter a binding contract with the facility to pay for his or her care there. If the billing system or cost is unreasonable, consider a different facility.

Work With a La Crosse Estate Planning Lawyer

Long-term care plans are often part of an individual’s will. If you are in the process of writing your will or you have been granted power of attorney for your elderly loved one, you will need to give this issue serious thought. For aid in the legal part of the estate planning process, work with an experienced estate planning attorney at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. We can answer your questions and help you make the right choices for yourself or your loved one. Contact our firm to begin working with us today.

Published March 24, 2016
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