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  • Writer's pictureAlan D. Feller, Esq.

The Elder Law Guide to Advocacy

You can chart the trajectory of your life by your sticker collection.  My ancient albums held “Scratch and Sniff” stickers which smelled like fruit, pizza and other foods, plus baseball players and shiny AAA bumper stickers that were never affixed to our Oldsmobile.  Now, after a long workday, the stickers I pull out of my pocket are from Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Rehabilitation Centers and Assisted Living facilities. Most health care centers have sticker machines for visitors.  Some level of screening is usually required.  Whipping out a driver’s license or bending your neck to have your face fit in the temperature-taking computer screen are common occurrences. Once a loved one is situated in a care facility, you must obtain admission to see them.  A sticker begins your advocacy journey.

Seeing a loved one in a hospital bed hits you in the stomach.  Your heart tells you that they do not belong there.  They belong at home.  Your presence at their bedside is necessary to alleviate the fear and loneliness that accompanies a hospitalization. Bring them their favorite soup or a comfy blanket.  They are having a rough time and could use all the caring in the world.   In some cases, medical intervention on its own may be enough to return a family member to their home.  Often, procedures and medication in the hospital are the beginning stages of illness management and a long-term care journey.  Whether in-person or by phone, maintaining regular, disciplined, communication with staff is crucial to avoiding problems.   Argumentative, accusatory and disruptive conversations will negatively impact care, even if the motives originate from a good place.  Always keep advance directives – Health Care Proxy, Living Will and Power of Attorney up to date.

 Advocating for a loved one is more than just speaking to medical personnel and social workers.  Proper advocacy includes health insurance fluency – knowing which coverages are relevant.  Hospitalizations and rehabilitative coverage will be centered on Medicare and Medicare Supplemental Insurance.  Medicare Advantage Plans are often less expensive, but they have limitations when care needs increase and facilities will even recommend that your loved one disenrolls from these plans. 

Discharge from a hospital to a rehabilitative facility has its own advocacy rules.  The focus shifts to physical and occupational therapy – strengthening your loved one after a hospitalization has deconditioned them.  Generally speaking, insurance coverage will be Medicare and a Supplemental Insurance.  The 100 day rule is not absolute.  If your loved one plateaus, coverage could end early.  Medicare is not a solution for long term care.  Obtaining Medicaid eligibility becomes the next part of the advocacy process.  Consulting with an elder law attorney to protect a family’s assets is crucial to ensuring that this health crisis does not leave a family financially strained.

The people who love you do not expect you to be miracle workers, but they depend on you to fight for them and make informed decisions.  Contact the professionals at The Feller Group, P.C. to learn more about proper long term care advocacy.

Seeing a loved one in a hospital bed hits you in the stomach.  Your heart tells you that they do not belong there.
The Elder Law Guide to Advocacy



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