CarePatrol is committed to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Read the full letter from our Co-Founder and President here

Where Can Seniors Safely Go After Being Discharged from Healthcare Facilities?

PHOENIX, April 1, 2020 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — PHOENIX, April 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — CarePatrol, the nation’s largest senior placement organization, is partnering with healthcare providers to counsel families on options for moving loved ones to safer environments in order to make room for COVID-19 patients.

“When it comes to our vulnerable senior population, being discharged from a hospital or healthcare facility and going somewhere safe comes with incredible responsibilities,” said Becky Bongiovanni, Certified Senior Advisor and Brand President of CarePatrol. “There are important added measures we are taking to still get care for loved ones while our population at-large is also being told to shelter-in-place.”

The franchise network has introduced virtual consultations with families, offering online tours of senior communities at the same time that those facilities are taking added precautionary measures to keep their residents safe.

“During this time of uncertainty, our locations are continuing to work closely with our network of over 32,000 senior living communities across the nation and we are supporting families making difficult care decisions in order to prevent a worse situation for a loved one,” said Bongiovanni. “It is also our desire to support our healthcare workers who are the heroes on the front line.  Recently, CarePatrol locations have started donating hand sanitizers, face masks and meals to local healthcare workers. We will continue to support case managers with timely and safer discharges. We want to do what we can to relieve their burden by counseling families to find safer care options expeditiously.”

And for families hesitant to move a loved one into a community during the pandemic, CarePatrol owners are working closely with ComForCare franchisees across the country to arrange for in-home care as an alternative.

Understanding Eldercare Payer Sources

 

Americans are eligible for Medicare the month they turn 65.  Many have a false impression of what that entails. While one can sign up for Medicare on the Social Security website www.SocialSecurity.gov or in person at their local Social Security office, that is just the beginning. It is estimated that Medicare pays for about one half of the medical cost seniors will be responsible for.  A large part of the remaining needed coverage comes in the form of “gap” policies or Advantage Plans, both from health insurance companies. If a “gap” policy is chosen a separate prescription plan (called part D) will be needed. An insurance provider can explain the multitude of options available or go to www.Medicare.gov for tutorials. Long Term Care insurance covers the custodial needs of seniors, which is beyond the medical coverage that the Medicare system provides. Options change every year, so plan to repeat.

While we advise a review of the chosen coverage every year during open enrollment that runs from November 1st til December 15th in 2019, many people stick with a previous choice. This short column is not designed to replace advice from an insurance professional but to bring awareness to the complexity. With the exception of the long-term care policies, this system is controlled by a federal department named the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The government has trust funds set up to pay medical bills on your behalf for their portion of the costs, so think of Medicare as a key payer source. Their standard “premium” is the same for each person, $135.50 in 2019 and an expected $144.30 in 2020. Advantage plans manage more healthcare, while gap policies follow guidelines for their portion. Medicaid is an assistance program for low-income people that states manage for CMS.

A broader perspective of eldercare should include hearing aids, glasses, medical hardware, Assisted Living or Memory Care. Help around the home such as yardwork or house cleaning can even expand to homecare with an hourly rate, with you as the payer source.  The basis of paying privately for anything that may be needed can be planned in a long term budget. We suggest viewing the complicated government programs as multiple payer sources for that budget. Understanding what each covers will prevent surprises in emergencies. While you can make all your choices when you privately pay as the payer source, involving insurance coverage comes with strings attached, including the government-run programs. Each has established coverages and each has rules that control the extent available. Doctors have little say, especially in hospitals, of what is covered or not. Rules matter in this area.

In an emergency, arriving at a medical facility like a hospital, an admissions person will collect your coverage information. They then input to your chart the “rules” that come from your payer source. How much of your costs are covered are based on the previous choices that have been made for that year. Learn to ask what is covered by your plan when health professionals make recommendations. You will pay privately for the rest. Custodial-care costs that are included with the housing in a medical facility are called in-patient costs.  All other custodial costs are part of your private pay budget. As an example, rehabilitation can take place in the home, Assisted Living, or in a skilled nursing facility as an inpatient. The Payer sources all strive to reduce their cost exposure to inpatient situations with rules indicating when discharge is required. Then, home or Assisted Living custodial costs are yours so only the visit to or by a therapist remains covered. The healthcare professionals can’t change the system for you.

In the multi-trillion dollar industry of homecare, the complexity may seem overwhelming. It is even harder to comprehend during the stress of an emergency. Nursing home long-term care in most states also has the complexity of legal and financial document preparation. Assisted Living is a simpler process with private pay providing more consumer satisfaction since the family is the direct payer source. CarePatrol understands the payer source complications and can help your family through the maze. The acceptability of much of that maze comes from previous decisions and the payer source restrictions. As understanding eldercare payer sources are based on your individual coverage, a regular review and access to the policies is wise. Long Term care policies may need to be purchased before age 65, or as a rider for life insurance. You are not alone, 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day.

DEHYDRATION – An Epidemic?

 

A recent emergency room survey found that 68% of all visits came from seniors 75 years and older. In communities with an older population, dehydration was either a primary or secondary reason for most of the emergency room visits. The Nutrition Information Center in New York found that 75% of all Americans have chronic dehydration. Our bodies contain up to 70% water and fluids are the basis for most bodily functions. Water flushes harmful toxins from the body and we can only survive three to four days without water.

Thirst is a feeling of needing or wanting to drink something. For most people the feeling prompts the intake of fluids that stops the feeling. Excessive thirst or thirst that can’t be quenched can be symptoms of serious medical conditions like diabetes, sepsis, or heart, liver, or kidney failure. Dehydration can also be caused by profuse sweating, too much output of urine, diarrhea or vomiting.  As dehydration occurs when the body has a lack of fluids, it can prevent so many body parts from functioning properly, resulting in UTI’s.

Between 60% and 70% of fluids are in our cells, so muscles have a large share of our bodily water. We need the minerals, sodium, and potassium that is in natural water. Three things occur as we get older that complicate this process. Thirst is blunted with age, so we become dehydrated before the feeling of thirst. Secondly, kidneys become less effective at concentrating the urine, so more water is excreted that when we were younger. The third is a noticeable increase in the need to urinate and a conscious reduction in intake to offset it.

Early signs like fatigue, depression, headache, constipation, dizziness, and muscle cramps are attributed to other medical conditions by seniors as well as dehydration. The American Heart Association says hydration is good for the heart, but Cardiologists often put patients on fluid restrictions to prevent excess wear on cardiac conditions and patients who follow the restrictions don’t follow the minimum intake directions. 85% of the brain is fluid, so it is not uncommon for dehydration patients to exhibit dementia symptoms.

We suggest a strategy for everyone age 75 and older that is more easily implemented in a senior living community. Step One: SCHEDULE fluid intake with a charting methodology to capture daily intake. Step Two: SIP rather than try and drink an entire glass at one time. Fruit can be used to infuse water for taste, but soft drinks or other beverages should not replace water, as the minerals are crucial. Use two fingers to pinch some skin on the back of your hand, then let the skin go. If it does not spring back to normal position in a couple seconds, SIP.

 

Safer Living Solutions

 

At CarePatrol, we represent the private pay options for seniors who need a safer living solution. One call to us is all you need for your patients or family members to access our free community service. We work with all post-acute professionals.

We provide education to our clients and our referral partners on the multiple subjects needed for each individual situation. Part of that education is the multiple forms of payment that apply to each one.

Safer senior living can be as simple as adding grab bars in a shower to a move to an appropriate Assisted Living community in the area. Many families find steps in between such as home care, meals delivered, etc.

No need to try and guess which community or company is the right one to suggest when we represent all the independent, assisted living, and memory care communities whose license applies.

We have developed trusted preferred providers for all other needs that seniors may experience. Elder Law Attorneys, movers, estate sales, repairs, real-estate professionals and cleaning are just part of what we offer.

Caregivers have the most stressful role –  24/7 care for a loved one with deteriorating health. We can assist caregivers with reducing that stress by finding short and long-term solutions for their situations.

Most people want to stay in their home for as long as possible. We all agree that safety concerns are where “possible” can be defined. While safer senior living is your goal, it is our mission at CarePatrol.

If You Are an Older Driver and Aren’t Talking Safety, You Should Be

Image of an elderly woman driving her car

According to AAA, nearly 83 percent of older drivers report never speaking to a family member or a physician about their safe driving ability. In addition to expression a hard time initiating the conversation, 15 percent will only do so after a traffic accident has occurred.

If you’re still driving, here are some things you can do to keep yourself safe on the road!

1. Get your eyes and ears examined yearly

To drive, you need good vision and hearing. Even if you think nothing has changed from the previous year, schedule appointments with the optometrist and the audiologist annually.

2. Manage your prescriptions

Taking your medications appropriately is important to maintaining and managing chronic health conditions. If you take them incorrectly, you can increase the risk of side effects that could impair your ability to drive. Also, if you’re on more than one medication, and more than one talks about dizziness as a complication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options.

3. Be active

Being fit and staying active are important to your overall health, however, when it comes to driving, it can help keep your motor-functions in tip top shape making it easier for you to react to situations and drive defensively.

4. Update your driving skills

True, you’ve been driving for many years, but there are many local organizations that offer driving skills assessments for seniors age 65 and older. You will most likely pass with flying colors, but it will give you an indication, hopefully before an accident occurs, that you might need driving assistance.

For more information on the study by AAA, visit https://newsroom.aaa.com/2018/08/older-drivers-talking-driving-safety/