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Items filtered by date: February 2020

Whether you’re 20 or 80, healthy or sick, you need to have this conversation at your next annual exam.

It’s not about your current health concerns, it’s about your future ones.

Advance Care Planning involves thinking about the types of medical decisions you will want made for you if you are in a situation where you cannot state them yourself.

Sound morbid? It doesn’t have to be. This is a time for you to think about and communicate your personal values and desires about end-of-life care.

If you are receiving Medicare benefits, Medicare will pay for Advance Care Planning at your Welcome to Medicare Exam — and again at each Annual Wellness Visit.

The Advance Directive

The specific decisions you make are written into a legal document called an advance directive.

An advance directive might include whether you want to be put on a ventilator if you cannot breathe on your own, and whether you want CPR if your heart stops.

It is important to remember that these decisions are not set in stone. You can change them at any time — and likely will — as your situation, your health, or your feelings change.

The Healthcare Proxy

If you are currently young and in good health, it may be difficult to imagine what you would want at some unknown future point. For these reasons, it is best to designate a healthcare proxy, someone you trust to make medical decisions for you.

Your healthcare proxy might be a relative, but it doesn’t have to be. You might feel that a close friend or a person in your spiritual community might have a better sense of your values — and a clearer head in a medical emergency.

Both the advance directive and healthcare proxy form are legal documents, and how they are witnessed varies from state to state. Sometimes they even need to be notarized.

If you have Medicare coverage, the best time to have these discussions with your doctor is at the Welcome to Medicare visit or at your Annual Wellness Visit, when Medicare will cover the entire cost. But if you have missed that opportunity this year, don’t let that stop you. These are important decisions! Medicare’s Plan B also covers Advance Care Planning.

Who can guide you when you are admitting your loved one to a nursing home? Most people turn to their doctor. But a study published in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine suggests that this trusted source may not have all the answers the family needs.

The study found that internal medicine residents scored below 50% on a test regarding nursing homes, better known today as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Even after training, they were still uncertain about exactly what a skilled nursing facility is, what services it provides, and how it is staffed.

The study concludes that, “efforts to improve this knowledge are needed to assure proper triage of patients and safe transitions to the SNF.”

As is always true when making important medical decisions, the family should be as involved as possible when admitting a family member to a skilled nursing facility; they should not leave all decision-making to medical personnel.

The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) has issued guidelines to help families ensure safe transfers — and, consequently, successful outcomes — for their loved ones.

They recommend the following 3 steps be the basis for every transfer from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility:

1. The patient’s preferences

Too often, discussions regarding a patient exclude the person most affected by the decision: the patient themselves. Include your loved one in discussions regarding the continuation of their care. This also means discussing — and documenting —their preferences for care at end-of-life.

2. Educating the family                                                                                                                                        

Decisions must be made, and the family should be sure they understand the reasons for them. For example, why is a skilled nursing facility being suggested, rather than a rehab facility?

3. Prompt and thorough communication about medication

Whenever someone is being moved from one facility to another, there is a risk that important information, especially information about medications, is not communicated. This increases the likelihood of errors in patient care.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we pride ourselves on our ability to initiate and maintain communication with the patient’s doctors, their family, and of course the patient themselves. It’s just one of the reasons so many people trust us with the care of their loved ones.

We follow our residents’ health carefully, listening to them, and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence — and always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities.

Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

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