Establishing a Nursing Home Care Plan
Once you have selected a nursing home, the focus should shift to assuring that your loved one receives the best care possible. Federal law mandates that nursing home must perform an initial resident assessment within two weeks of admission to determine the resident’s physical and mental condition, as well as the medical and nutritional needs.
Based on these findings, the facility develops what is called a “plan of care” to meet the needs of the resident. A care plan represents the critical first step to ensuring proper care. Moreover, it is a legal part of the nursing home contract. Nursing homes are legally required to develop a care plan that addresses each resident’s unique needs.
A thorough care plan, not only lays the foundation for quality care, but also gives the nursing home resident rights, that go far beyond the rights of someone, who doesn’t have a properly drafted plan of care in place.
Facilities are required to review certain parts of the care plan every three months and the entire plan once a year. In addition, a care plan reassessment must be done whenever there is significant change in the resident’s condition, whether there is an improvement or a decline. Although they often don’t know it, families are entitled to attend the care plan review meetings. Families and professionals, who have loved ones in a nursing home, will tell you the single biggest factor to assuring good care is family involvement.
Be visible; ask questions. Watch for changes in your loved one’s appearance and behavior. Read about nursing home resident’s rights. Participating in the process and staying involved assures that nursing residents get good care. Should your loved one receive inadequate care despite your involvement, you can take legal action to correct the situation.
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David Wingate is an estate planning and elder law attorney at Estate and Elder Planning by David Wingate. The Estate and Elder Planning office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick, Washington and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.
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