Elder Law: Attorney Care-Giving & Patient Advocacy
There are times when it may be prudent to employ an attorney to assist in providing and coordinating care for persons who find it difficult to live alone. Attorneys are also being used to check up on loved ones or patients in nursing homes or in assisted living or retirement facilities. This all stems from the belief that good care whether in a nursing home (or in any other facility) does not depend on whether a person is a Medicaid recipient or is a private pay patient. Good care depends on whether someone comes to visit you or a loved one and it depends, also, on whether there is someone who knows how to get the assistance and care you or your loved one needs and ought to have.
Sometimes, a husband or a wife, try as they might, are just not able to do what has to be done to assure good care. Often, there are no family members or if there are, they may not be close by, so that they can make sure you or your loved one are treated with the utmost dignity and respect. That’s when the attorney who advocates for a patient can be used effectively.
Some of the care planning and patient advocacy service attorneys, familiar with care-giving services, can provide include:
- Initial interview with client or relative to evaluate the level of care that may be needed
- Arrange for personalized home care and assistance
- Arrange for nursing home placement
- Arrange for assisted living facility placement
- Arrange for appropriate medical and nursing care
- Arrange for medical appointments and needed transportation
- Attorney meetings with care providers
- Attorney unannounced visits to nursing home and assisted living facility
- Nursing home intervention and advocacy
- Bill paying and budget keeping services
- Act as health care surrogate (with permission of client or family members)
- All needed advocacy on behalf of the client
- Housing arrangements in times of crises
Fees for such services are usually arranged on an individual basis after consultation with the client or with the person arranging for the care-giving services.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the funds an individual has acquired over his or her lifetime ought to be used solely for the benefit of that person for so long as he or she lives. This view leads to the obvious conclusion that each client who may need care assistance or some type of advocacy with a nursing home, a living facility, a doctor, or anyone else is entitled to receive and must receive the maximum care and dignity. Nothing less is acceptable.