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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.


person found Donna's experience helpful.

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When my mother needed hip-replacement surgery, we (my brothers and sister) were told she needed additional post-op care for a few weeks in a nursing facility, before coming home to jump start the healing and rehabilitation process and to eliminate any chance of post op infection.

A nursing rehabilitation facility that staffed on call physicians and surgical nurses in case of any emergency medical attention was needed during the 4-6 week stay after her surgery.

The experience of selecting, financing and trusting a nursing care facility to take care of an aging parent is one I would like to share. Where many families fall apart during these times, my family grew closer than ever before.

Choosing a Nursing Care Facility For Your Loved One

First, knowing exactly what type of care is necessary and for how long the care is needed will help you choose a nursing facility for those exact needs. This was our first problem: not knowing enough information about the type of care needed. At first, we thought she could be cared for at home.

Not having all the facts became an issue when I started calling facilities. Staff could not answer questions without pertinent information. That was my first mistake.

In this case, we needed a surgical rehabilitation nursing facility for a short-term stay. Surprisingly, you will find most assisted living facilities and nursing homes have separate wings dedicated to surgical post op needs. I live in a small area so we have a very large assisted living community, nursing home, and rehabilitation service all in one place. Our mother loved it! The only problem was the cost and additional coverage she would need to pay for the stay.

Finding Additional Coverage

The finance administrator worked with my mother's insurance (Medicare) to provide most of the services. However, there were some additional costs for which her insurance would not pay. That was when we decided to provide additional coverage to cover all the costs and ensure there were no additional out-of-pocket costs for our mother

Through the help of the finance staff at the facility, we were able to provide and pay for additional coverage. They had more resources to work with, knew what they were doing, and had seen this many times. They solved the problem for my mother with respect and compassion toward her care.

Doing Things Differently

Yes, thinking back there are some things that we could have done differently. For one, make sure your family is on top of current medical conditions and needs of aging parents so you are not caught off guard when you find out they are in need of care. Every parent will sooner or later need some type of care. Be prepared as a family to make decisions together about the care of an aging parent.

Not every nursing facility is what they say they are, so be careful. Check out the ratings through state and local websites. This is something we did not do at first. I do wish I would have asked the staff at the doctor’s office what facilities they would recommend. It would have saved some time.

My Advice To Others

A frantic situation turned into an enjoyable stay for my mother and brought our family closer, leaving each of us knowing we needed to stay in touch. My advice to others is to check out each facility you are considering on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website.

Also, it is very important to check out the staff and determine if they are qualified for the tasks they need to perform. Meet staff and watch them in action with other residents or patients so you will have a sense of the care given and the quality of the staff. Take a tour of each facility and its grounds; if nicely kept outside, most likely you will find the same inside.

It may also be necessary to have additional insurance, so check out the options your parent may have. Gather the necessary information about your parent's needs to answer the important questions when calling facilities. Here are few pieces of information that I wish I had when I was researching a facility for my mother:

• The amount of care needed, which helps choose facilities with highly qualified staff.

• The expected length of stay, which helps choose the type of facility needed (short-term or long-term).

• The complete cost of each facility and what insurance will cover, which helps to be prepared for any additional financing needed.

• Most importantly, what your parent wants and does not want, which ensures your parent's stay is a happy one with a quick, healthy recovery.

Having this information would’ve made the selection process much easier.

As our parents age, we need to be more aware of the needs they may face. Choosing a nursing facility is a lot easier when you make the decisions together as a family, have the right information, know the costs, and do your homework.

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