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Health care options

Posted September 04, 2013 in Advice Column, Urbandale

Oftentimes I answer an inquiry, and the first thing I hear is “I feel like I have no options.”

My heart sinks a bit every time I hear this because there truly are many options available to those in need of long-term or skilled care.  First and foremost, always remember you have options and rights. Even if a loved one is in the hospital, you still get to choose whether he or she goes to a skilled or long-term care facility or straight home after the hospital stay.

A skilled facility can be incredibly beneficial for someone who has experienced a major injury or illness. While the hospital helps to begin the recovery process, embracing skilled care and utilizing those benefits through your insurance will help ensure that when you do go back home, you’re that much more prepared and healthy. More often than not, individuals who go home upon discharge experience a post-hospital incident that lands them back in the emergency room. Furthermore, when heading home from a skilled facility stay, they will set you up with continued care and resources to ensure safety and appropriate help once back home.

If home is the absolute option, strongly consider utilizing a home health companies services. They can oftentimes be at your house ready to begin providing care within 24 hours of a discharge to home. Many times they can also utilize your insurance, so be sure to ask that upfront so you know what kind of possible out-of-pocket costs you might endure. Again, this is something to shop around for. Inquire with multiple companies and find one willing to come out and meet you to ensure your comfort level is there before meeting them at your house once home.

If you get home and find out it’s just not working, call a facility. Another reason why it’s so important to explore long-term care options early is so that if something happens and you need care right away, you already have a list of places to call for help. Most people aren’t aware that if you have had three fully-admitted nights in a hospital and go home, you have 30 days in which you can still utilize your skilled nursing facility benefits. So if a few days at home prove to be more difficult than you imagined, don’t hesitate to call a facility and tell them you need skilled care.

A list of skilled facilities and home health agencies should be given to you during your stay at the hospital as well as be available through your primary doctor or any facility you might visit.

Information provided by Courtney Tiernan, community liaison director, Urbandale Health Care Center, 4614 84th St., Urbandale, (515) 270-6838.

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