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How to Choose a Nursing Home- Part 10

The four steps to take in order to decide which nursing home may be best for you are:

  • Step 1: Find nursing homes in your area;
  • Step 2: Compare the quality of the nursing homes you’re considering;
  • Step 3: Visit the nursing homes you’re interested in or have someone visit for you; and
  • Step 4: Choose the nursing home that meets your needs.

Step 4: Choose the nursing home that meets your needs.

What information does the nursing home need?

Information for nursing home staff

Information on your medical history: Your doctor may give the staff some of this information. This includes a list of any current or past health problems, any past surgeries or treatments, any shots you’ve had, and allergies you have to food or medicine.

Information on your current health status: Your doctor should give the staff this information, including a list of your current health problems, recent diagnostic test results, and information about any activities of daily living that might be difficult for you to do by yourself.

A list of your current medicines: Include the dose, how often you take it, and why you take it.

A list of all your health care providers: Include names, addresses, and phone numbers.

A list of family members to call in case of an emergency: Include names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Health care advance directives

You may be asked if you have a health care advance directive, which is a written document that says how you want medical decisions to be made if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. There are 2 common types of health care advance directives:

  • A living will: A living will is a written legal document that shows what type of treatments you want or don’t want in case you can’t speak for yourself, like whether you want life support. Usually, this document only comes into effect if you’re unconscious.
  • A health care proxy: A health care proxy is a legal document that names someone else to make health care decisions for you. This is helpful if you become unable to make your own decisions.

Personal needs accounts

You may want to open an account managed by the nursing home, although the nursing home may not require this. You can deposit money into the account for personal use. Check with the nursing home to see how they manage these accounts. You may only have access to the account at certain times.

Information about Medicare & Medicaid benefits

If you want admission to a nursing home, the nursing home must provide (orally and in writing) and prominently display written information about how to apply for and use Medicare and Medicaid benefits. They must also provide information on how to get refunds for previous payments covered by these benefits.

Aaron E. Futterman, CPA, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Futterman & Lanza, LLP with offices in Smithtown, NY and clients throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Richmond, New York, Westchester and Rockland Counties. He concentrates his practice to Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Applications, Estate Planning, Probate, Estate Taxes, and Estate Administration.

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