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Now browsing: Hometown News > Business Columns > Michael Summers

Michael Summers
This Week | Archive

Long-term care plans give families options
Rating: 2.79 / 5 (205 votes)  
Posted: 2007 Jan 26 - 02:54

When independence is limited because of a chronic illness, many individuals find themselves requiring additional assistance.

Depending on the level of assistance required, care may be administered at home, in the community or within a facility.

In some areas, especially rural areas, there may be only one or two kinds of long-term care choices. Most areas, however, have more options and can provide a broad range of services available to individuals who have lost some level of independence and need help with daily activities that most healthy people take for granted.

In northern Palm Beach County, Horizon Care Services is an agency that I recommend. They coordinate a comprehensive range of services to promote the independence and dignity of older adults. This organization can help an older adult or their family access services that include in-home support, nutrition, transportation, elder rights and protection assistance, and caregiver support services. For more information on Horizon Care Services, contact Kim Hathaway at (561) 776-7757.

When determining the appropriate plan of care, physicians often look to the client's home as the preferred location. Not only is it familiar to the patient, but it also promotes emotional well-being for the entire family.

The most common providers of home care are family and friends. However, their assistance is not always available 24 hours a day. When extensive care is required, the family may decide to hire third-party home health care providers.

Home health care providers can be divided into two main categories, professional and personal and are typically provided through home health care agencies, or by qualified and independent care providers. Some examples are registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists, or personal home health care providers, which include licensed social workers and nurses' aides.

To assist families whose adult children work during the day and may be unable to provide ongoing care, adult day care facilities, also known as adult day health care facilities, adult day care centers and adult day health care facilities, may be a practical alternative.

Designed to promote social interaction, while meeting the health care needs of long-term care recipients, adult day care offers caregivers the time necessary to meet their own day-to-day responsibilities. Moving a loved one into a facility can be stressful and time consuming. Is it the right thing to do? Is it the right facility? How will the bills be paid?

There are many questions to ask that are not easy to answer. To make an informed decision, it is important to know the choice of facilities available in your area.

Today, there are many types of facilities from which to choose. The levels of care available range from limited, or custodial assistance to skilled nursing. The services and licensure needed by a facility is often determined by the state. However, some types of facilities may not be approved to do business in all states.

One type of facility is an alternate living facility. These are also known as residential care facilities in California or assisted living facilities in other states. These facilities are designed to meet a wide range of individual needs within a residential-type setting. A typical facility can accommodate anywhere from five to more than 100 residents.

Depending on an individual's needs, units may be adapted to facilitate physical activities such as bathing and meal preparation.

Care delivered in nursing homes is also evolving. Nursing homes offer a less expensive alternative to some types of care and therapies formerly available only in a hospital.

Some nursing home residents stay long enough to regain their independence and then return home. Others may find they continue to need assistance throughout the day, and remain at the nursing home for extended periods of time.

Medicare's Web site offers up-to date information on long-term care resources including skilled nursing facilities.

The "Nursing Home Compare Tool" provides detailed information about the past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country.

For more information visit the Web site www.medicare.gov/NHCompare.

If interested in learning more about long-term care insurance and other asset and income protection products, contact Michael Summers, a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network based at (561) 630-6300 or e-mail michael.summers@nmfm.com. He will help design a plan that's right for you.

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