This week’s Fraud Alert features a news story about Medicare fraud and low income older adults, why the Census Bureau may contact you, and a warning about contractor scams.
Alzheimer’s disease gets a lot of attention for being the most common cause of dementia in older people. But what if it isn’t Alzheimer’s?
Visit the ADEAR website to learn about other types of dementia, including:
-information from the National Institutes on Aging
Read Disaster Preparedness: Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips for more ways to be ready during a crisis.
The current State Budget impasse threatens the viability of community-based agencies and their capacity to provide long term services and supports and behavioral health care for older adults and persons with disabilities. I urge you to send letters to the editor of your local newspaper(s) to inform the public about the impact of the current stalemate on your agencies, programs, and clients, and urge the Governor and Illinois General Assembly to settle their political differences and enact a State Budget now. I have prepared a sample letter to the editor which can be found on our website at: www.ilcmha.org . You may customize the letter and send it to your local newspaper(s).
Michael O’Donnell, President
Illinois Coalition on Mental Health and Aging
ComEd has set up temporary satellite sites to complete applications for their Residential Special Hardship Program beginning on Monday, July 27, 2015. The program will run until funds are exhausted. The ComEd Residential Special Hardship program is available for those who have “experienced a hardship due to job loss, documented illness, military deployment, senior or disability hardships, among others”, according to ComEd’s website. In addition, they must meet other eligibility guidelines to qualify for assistance. Please visit https://www.comed.com/customer-service/assistance-programs/Pages/residential-hardship.aspx or call 1-800-806-CARE for more information.
The 2014-2015 income guidelines are as follows:
|Family Size||30-Day Income||Annual Income|
Elizabeth Lough, MPH, Benefits Access Specialist AgeOptions 1048 Lake Street, Suite 300 Oak Park, Illinois 60301 phone (708)383-0258 fax (708)524-0870
If you decide to “age in place” — live independently in a home of your choice for as long as possible — you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you have the necessary supports and resources.
For more information, see “There’s No Place Like Home – For Growing Old,” a Tip Sheet from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH.
Whenever a person dies, their estate needs to be collected and managed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the remaining assets. Not only are you dealing with the death of a loved one, the estate administration process can be overwhelming. Attend this program, presented by Attorney Hanny Pei-Rodriguez and learn more about preparing for, and managing, this difficult task.
Presented by: Hanny Pei-Rodriguez, JD
Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm -7:30 pm
Location: Gilda’s Club Chicago, 537 North Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Registration: There is no charge to attend. However advanced registration is required. Please contact JamieMazer@gildasclubchicago.org or 312 464-9900, ext. 30 to register.
The Social Securtiy Adminstration updated many online publications.
This week’s Fraud Alert includes a recent article about older adults and identity theft featuring the Illinois SMP and the return of the medical alert scam.
This unique interactive map helps meet needs of people with electricity-dependent medical equipment
The HHS emPOWER Map, an interactive online tool, launched today to aid community health agencies and emergency management officials in disaster preparedness as they plan ahead to meet the emergency needs of community residents who rely on electrically powered medical and assistive equipment to live independently at home.
Safety is a big concern for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Whether it’s dealing with wandering, dangers in the home, or difficulties with driving, the National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center has information to help you reduce the risk of injury and keep the person safe.
You see the ads on TV, in the newspaper, and online. They push the benefits of a reverse mortgage for homeowners over 62: pay off your existing mortgage, supplement your income, pay for healthcare expenses, and more. But is a reverse mortgage right for you? That depends. While a reverse mortgage may increase your monthly income, it can put your retirement security at risk if you’re not careful.
Partner Kathryn Casey has completed the long and difficult process to become a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA). This certification has frequently been referred to as “the gold standard” for elder law and special needs attorneys.
In our ongoing commitment to provide the highest level of services to our clients and their families both of our Partners, Janna Dutton and Kathryn Casey, are certified.
Please click on the link below to learn more about the process to become a CELA and how this level of knowledge and dedication can better assist you and / or someone you care about.
The issue was recently published. Take a few minutes to read it as it has a great deal of helpful information on estate planning, probate, and elder law related issues. Click here and feel free to share.
The March issue of YOUR Legal Update has been published. Take a few minutes to read the latest issue…it contains a great deal of useful information!
Medicare beneficiary’s inpatient or outpatient status in a hospital affects the way that Medicare bills the beneficiary as well as whether the patient qualifies for Skilled Nursing Facility care following the hospital stay, so it is really important for a beneficiary to understand their rights.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy created a handout that describes the issue surrounding observation status, and provides steps that patients can take to try and resolve the issue. Please click on the link below to view the packet: http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/self-help-packet-for-medicare-observation-status/
In Illinois, hospitals are not required to tell a patient if they are being put under observation status or being admitted to the hospital, so it is important for the patient to ask. Please view the fact sheet, created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for more information about the difference between inpatient and outpatient status: http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11435.pdf
– source Make Medicare Work Coalition http://www.ageoptions.org/services-and-programs_makemedicarework.html
The December 2013 issue of YOUR Legal Update has been published.
As always, it contains a great deal of helpful information.
Our current issue provides resources for family caregivers, older adults, people who have a disability, and professionals. Please take a few minutes to learn more.
As always, this issue contains helpful information on estate planning, probate, and elder law related topics. Please take a few minutes to read it.
The newest issue of our newsletter has been published.
Please take a few minutes to review it as it contains helpful information on a wide variety of estate planning, probate, and elder law realted topics.
The June edition of our newsletter has been published. Please take a few minutes to read it as it contains very helpful information on a variety of subjects.
Illinois Expands Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) to Physician Orders on Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
On March 14, 2013, the Illinois Department of Public Health released a revised version of its “IDPH Uniform Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive.” The updated form is subtitled “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment” (POLST) This form represents a widely recognized best practice that documents medical orders for life-extending treatments for seriously ill patients. POLST is now in use in 38 states with adoptions by Illinois and Indiana in 2013. It is intended to promote more patient-centered conversations between physicians/other healthcare professionals and the patient or legal surrogate.
Adequate legal planning for living with a disability, whether your own or your loved one’s, involves more than writing a will. It requires legal documents designed for living. Attend this session, led by an attorney practicing disability and elder law, as she discuss important topics including health care planning and coverage, financial and health care surrogate decision-making, long term care, and other important planning tools designed to protect your physical, mental, and financial health, or that of someone you care about, during life.
Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD
Date: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Jewish Community and Family Services, 5150 West Golf Road, 2nd Floor, Skokie, IL 60077
Registration: There is no charge to attend this program. However, advanced registration is required. Click here to register.
In case you are new to reading our blog, this is the link to read all of our newsletters.
The goal of our newsletter is to provide helpful, and understandable, information on estate planning, probate, and elder law related topics.
Please feel free to share this resource.
This session will attempt to answer legal questions common to all family caregivers in the hope of assisting you avoid legal pitfalls. Questions to be covered are: “What are the duties and authorities under a Power of Attorney for Property, Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Trust or Living Will?”; “What options are available in planning and paying for long-term care?”; “How can family caregivers can utilize Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts to maximize another’s quality of life?”
Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD
Date: Monday, April 22, 2013
Time: 830 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. (Janna’s session is part of the event, “A Systematic Approach to Building Your Caregiver Network”, being sponsored by Midwest Palliative & Hospice Care Center, Elderwerks, and Northshore Senior Center.
Location: Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center, 2050 Claire Court, Glenview, Illinois
Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required. Click here to register.
The January issue of our newsletter has been published. Please take a few minutes to read it as it contains a great deal of helpful information on estate planning, probate, and elder law related matters.
For 2013, changes have occured in the amount of money, and assets, that a community – based spouse can keep. Janna Dutton, founder and partner of Dutton & Casey, revised an article she wrote with the new amounts.
If you have Medicare, did you know that even, if you stay in the hospital overnight, you might still be considered an “outpatient”?
Your hospital status (whether the hospital considers you an “inpatient” or “outpatient”) affects how much you pay, qualification for rehabilitation, and more.
Resource Information –
Next Step in Care, a campaign of United Hospital Fund, provides hospital admission and Emergency Room guides to provide basic information about “observation status” and what to ask. This information is important as it is a rising trend to be in an “observation” rather than “in-patient” in the hospital.
Click here to open the hospital admission guide.
Click here to open the Emergency Room guide.
Click here to read it as a standalone piece.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
For their publication on hospital status (observation or in-patient), click here.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Commerce Commission alerted utility customers to a recent scam targeting residents in the Chicago area in which someone claiming to be a utility employee asks for immediate payment of a bill either at a customer’s door, over the telephone or by e-mail.
The ICC has received complaints from utility customers about scam artists claiming to be utility representatives, telling customers that their service will be disconnected unless payment is made directly to the scammers. The scammer may direct the consumer to purchase a prepaid credit card, “Cash Card” and to call them back with the personal identification number (PIN). The stories can vary, for example, with the scammer saying that the customer’s billing cycle has changed and payment must be made immediately, that the account is past due and payment can be made to them directly to avoid disconnection of the utility service, or the customer’s previous payment was rejected or never received.
“If someone appears at your door claiming to be from your utility company and asking for immediate payment of your bill, I would slam the door in their face, call the police and contact your utility company directly. Utility companies do not go door-to-door collecting payments,” Madigan said. “Any consumer who has provided their personal information to make an on-the-spot payment to someone claiming to represent a utility company should contact my office’s Consumer Fraud Bureau with the details.”
ICC Chairman Doug Scott urged consumers to always ask for identification from those who knock on their door offering a “service.” “Scam artists are good at what they do, so arm yourself with information before doing business with anyone who comes to your door or calls you on the telephone. Ask for identification and if doesn’t look right to you, it probably isn’t. You don’t have to do business with anyone who shows up at your door or calls you asking for personal information,” Scott said. “Contact the utility and check it out for yourself.”
The Attorney General and the ICC offer these reminders to utility customers:
*Never provide personal information to anyone who comes to the door or calls you claiming to be a representative of the utility.
*Contact the utility at the phone number listed on your bill to confirm the caller or the representative at your home is a verifiable employee of the utility. Do not call a different number suggested by the potential scammer.
*Utility field personnel in Illinois do not take payments from consumers. Be on guard with anyone who asks for your personal information, or says you must pay immediately and suggests a method to get the money quickly.
If you suspect you have been scammed, have a suspicious incident to report or have questions, contact the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-386-5438 or the ICC at 1-800-524-0795
Our December e-newsletter contains a great deal of helpful information on the topics of estate planning, probate, and elder law.
Please click here to read the December issue.
We have published our monthly newsletter.. YOUR Legal Update.
Please click here to read the current issue. You will be glad you did as it contains a great deal of helpful information.
The National Council on Aging has issued a list of Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors
please click here for more information.
Older Drivers Topic Now Available on NIHSeniorHealth.gov
Site offers information on age-related health changes, safety tips and driving adjustments
NIHSeniorHealth has just released a new topic for older drivers and families seeking information on an often sensitive subject: Is it still safe to drive? The new “Older Drivers” topic, available at http://nihseniorhealth.gov/olderdrivers/howagingaffectsdriving/01.html, gives older adults and their loved ones information to help them address that question and others related todriving in later life.
Key points include:
“Older Drivers” was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
For more health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health, go to www.nihseniorhealth.gov. NIHSeniorHealth is a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, both part of the National Institutes of Health.
AWARE IN CARE KIT
From the National Parkinson Foundation…. Aware In Care Kit. You can order your free kit by calling their national toll-free Helpline at 1-800-474-4636. There is almost a total lack of understanding on the part of hospital, rehab, and nursing home staff of the disease itself, the medications used to treat it, and the importance of timing when administering medication. This kit can make a future hospital stay a success rather than the disaster that many people with PD have endured.
The National Institute of Aging has a new fact sheet with resources to assist children, of various ages, learn abut Alzheimer’s Disease.
Every day can bring a new change or challenge for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Now, practical information and advice is at hand with a new series of Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips from the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging at NIH.
Based on the NIA publication Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease, the tip sheets offer brief, reliable, easy-to-understand information on a range of issues. They can help caregivers of people at any stage of the disease—mild, moderate, or severe.
Read, download, or print the tip sheets at www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/caregiving
(Available online only)
Provides tips to help people with cognitive disabilities prepare for emergencies that may happen in their community. Communicating with those around you, having a radio nearby and an emergency preparedness kit can help you during an evacuation. This information is also in Spanish, and can be downloaded as a PDF document and in MP3 audio format.
Visit Disability.gov for more resources that can help you prepare for, or recover from, an emergency or disaster.
Questions about the subscription service? Contact Us
Powerful Tools for Caregivers Class
Thursdays, October 4 through November 8, 2012
3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Rush University Medical Center, Tower Resource Center
1620 W. Harrison Street, Suite 04527, Chicago
This six-week education program is exclusively for family and friends caring for older adults with long-term conditions. Each weekly class provides family caregivers with the skills and confidence to better care for themselves while caring for others. Many caregivers have raved about the class, including those caring for a spouse or partner as well as adult family members and friends caring for an elder. Class members will receive The Caregiver Helpbook, developed specifically for the class.
Participating caregivers report they:
Skills learned build upon each other from week to week , plan to attend all six sessions.
Rush Generations member: $30 (parking validated and scholarships available)
Non-member: $50 (parking not validated)
Please call 1-312-563-2703 for more information or to register.
Did you know that “Spasmodic dysphonia (SD), a focal form of dystonia, is a neurological voice disorder that involves “spasms” of the vocal cords causing interruptions of speech and affecting the voice quality. SD can cause the voice to break up or to have a tight, strained, or strangled quality. ”
For more information on this disorder, information and resources, go to their webiste at http://www.dysphonia.org/
Did you know that this center in here in Chicagoland?
Go to youngparkinsons.org to learn more, register for their newsletter, and much more
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can have high physical, emotional, and financial costs.
click here to go to the NIA’s Alzheimers Disease and Education Referral Center’s webiste to learn more.
On June 1, 2012, Attorney Helen Mesoloras joined Dutton & Casey, PC, Attorneys at Law.
Helen concentrates her practice in elder law, with a focus on long term care planning, guardianships, probate and trust administrations, and estate planning. She represents clients in routine guardianship and probate matters, as well as more complex Medicaid and special needs planning cases. She enjoys working with clients and their families to develop and implement plans to achieve their goals, and guides her clients in every step of the plan.
To learn more about Helen Mesoloras, the firm of Dutton & Casey, and how we can assist you, or someone who you care about, please review our website.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Disability.gov (the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide) urge all people, especially older adults and people who have a disability, to plan ahead in case of an emergency.
Not only should the plan include supplies, it should include legal planning such a powers of attorney and other tools. For more information on how Dutton & Casey, PC., Attorneys at Law, can assist you prepare for an emergency, please review our website or send us an email.
The STAMP Act, HB 2840 just passed the executive committee of the Illinois General Assembly and will go to the floor next. If passed, the STAMP Act will dramatically cut the Illinois Medicaid program. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services proposed many changes incorporated into the Bill which will significantly restrict Medicaid eligibility of seniors for long term care coverage.
Please click here to read more and learn how you can help.
The February issue of the newsletter contains information on many topics. Please take a few minutes to review this resource.
IDOT Unveils Life-Saving Yellow Dot Program
Program Provides Emergency Responders with Crucial Medical Information to Help Crash Victims
The Illinois Yellow Dot program, a life-saving, traffic safety initiative that provides first responders with critical information to improve emergency care for persons involved in vehicle crashes. IDOT along with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois Department of Aging (IDOA) and county health departments across the state are working together to increase awareness of the voluntary, federally funded program, and provide distribution centers and information for interested residents.
“Roadway safety is always a top priority at IDOT, and the Yellow Dot program can help improve roadway safety by providing first responders the crucial medical information they need to treat injuries and save lives, beginning at the scene of a crash,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “This important program gives IDOT and our partners another important way to improve our exceptional record on traffic safety. I encourage all motorists to participate in this unique and effective program, which could make the difference between life and death for individuals involved in crashes.”
Because the first hour following an injury is the most crucial, the Yellow Dot program provides essential personal health information to emergency responders in order to promptly care for a crash victim. This ‘Golden Hour’ is critical in the treatment of crash victims, and the medical information provided through the program could be a lifesaver.
When a crash occurs, emergency medical first responders such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians are immediately dispatched to the scene. These responders usually have basic information such as the location of the crash and the number of victims. Frequently, minimal personal information is available during this early, most critical time period.
“This is a great opportunity for older drivers to update their medical information and have a voice in their emergency treatment in the event of an accident,” said John K. Holton, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Department on Aging. “The Yellow Dot program will serve as a lifeline to alert first responders of crucial medical information which can help the victims who may be unable to communicate at the crash site or may have forgotten to share the information.” Yellow Dot participants are supplied with a simple, bright yellow decal for their car and a corresponding yellow folder. The decal is placed in a conspicuous and consistent place – in the lower left-hand corner of the rear window, driver’s side. The yellow dot signifies there is a folder in the glove compartment containing the following medical information about the motorists: participant’s name, close-up photo, emergency contact information, patient’s physician information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies and a list of current medications. Having access to this information allows first responders to make important decisions regarding emergency treatment and can better prepare emergency hospital staff in the receiving room.
“Time is critical in an emergency situation. If paramedics and emergency medical workers know what medications a person is taking, if the person has allergies or a chronic condition, they can make better decisions about treatment,” said Acting IDPH Director Dr. Craig Conover. “Delaying treatment can mean the difference between life and death in some cases. Something as simple as having your medical information on a yellow card in your glove compartment can potentially make a big difference in the emergency care you receive.”
The Yellow Dot program, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, was originally introduced in Connecticut in 2002. For more information on the program and to find a distribution center near you, visit www.yellowdotillinois.org.
National Stroke Association is pleased to announce the official launch of Careliving Community, a new online social network designed exclusively for caregivers and family members of stroke survivors.
This free private space allows caregivers and loved ones of stroke survivors to connect, share advice and swap stories through a discussion forum. Careliving also offers a blog written by fellow caregivers and live chats with experts on caregiving.
Careliving was developed based on a serious need among caregivers for a private online support space where individuals can find peer-level support and also learn to take better care of themselves.
Caregivers can join the Careliving Community at www.stroke.org/careliving.
Neurology Now is a magazine, published six times per year, by the American Academy of Neurology. It contains extremely helpful information on a wide variety of neurological conditions.
For more information on the publication, click here.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. More than 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older have open angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma, and at least half don’t even know they have it.
click here to learn more about glaucoma
This 30-page guide offers consumer-friendly information about these rare conditions and their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, with helpful advice for caregivers.
The association recently published their January newsletter.
Please click here to learn more about the association and receive their monthly publication, which contains a great deal of helpful information for individuals who have a brain injury and the people who care about/for them.
The Foundation has published their Winter 2012 newsletter.
Please click here to read it and sign-up to electronically receive this helpful publication.
Please take a few minutes to our January newsletter as it contains helpful information for older adults, people who have a disability, and the people who care for / about them.
click here to read the January issue.
The partnership offers resources, education, and support for people who have macular degeneration and the people who care for/about them.
On Tuesday, January 17 at 10:00am, a program discussing “ECT: New Developments and Treamtent Considerations” will be presented by Donald Fagerson, M.D., Medical Director for ECT at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital.
click here to read a flyer regarding the program
Chicago Snow Corps is a new program that connects volunteers with residents in need of snow removal, such as seniors and people with disabilities. Chicago Snow Corps aims to help minimize potential heavy-snow emergencies by matching volunteers with blocks where the neediest citizens have requested help.
How do I request a volunteer?
Call 311. We will try out best to make volunteers available to you, but the services available depend on the number of volunteers in your area. Volunteer matching takes place Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers will not clear alleys, personal parking spaces, back porches, or any alternate entrances. Do not let the volunteer into your home. Do not offer payment for the shoveling services.
Who should call 311?
Recipients of assistance must be age 60 or older and/or have a physical disability. They must also live within Chicago City limits and lack access to the available resources (financial resources or local family/friends) to assist with snow removal.
When do I call 311?
Call 311 if you are unable to get out of your home after a snowfall. Only call 311 if the snow is significant and you do not have friends or family who can help you.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited disease that causes certain nerve cells in the brain to waste away.
Click here to obtain a caregivers guide, published by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
Some memory loss is normal as we age, but some older people experience more than occasional forgetfulness. What should family members know and what can they do to help someone who is beginning to experience memory loss or other difficulties with thinking?
A five-part educational program has been developed to help family members of someone in the early stages of memory loss or with early stage diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. This special program is taught by Michaela Hoffman, MSW of Catholic Charities Northwest Senior Services and Bonnie Scherkenbach,MS, LPC of The Barrington Area Council on Aging.
The class includes the following topics:
ü Overview of Memory Loss & Related Symptoms
ü Communication Strategies
ü Making Decisions
ü Planning for the Future (Attorney Kathryn Casey will be presenting)
ü Effective Ways of Coping and Caring
WHEN: February 14 through March 13th, 2012
Every Tuesday from 1:00 to 3:30 P.M.
WHERE: The Community Church of Barrington
301 East Lincoln Avenue, Barrington IL
FEE: $15 includes five, two and one half hour weekly sessions and the book “Alzheimer’s Early Stages” by Daniel Kuhn, MSW
To register or for more information please contact
Michaela Hoffman, MSW at 847-253-5500 ex. 333 or
Bonnie Scherkenbach, MS, LPC at 847-852-3890
In the current issue of their newsletter, dealing with Social Security and nutrition for someone who has Parkinson’s Disease are discussed.
How Social Security Evaluates Parkinson’s Disease
If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), are currently going through the application process, or have previously applied and were not approved, this article will help you to understand how Social Security evaluates each case.
Nutrition for Parkinson’s Disease
Good nutrition is important for everyone, but especially for someone with Parkinson’s disease. A healthy diet can help people with PD achieve or maintain normal body weight, increase energy level, boost their immune system, decrease risk factors for certain conditions or illnesses, and reduce constipation
To view these articles in their entirety or to subscribe their e-newsletter, please contact the APDA Young Onset Center at (877) 223-3801 or visit www.youngparkinsons.org.
In the current issue of their newsletter, dealing with Social Security and nutrition for someone who has Parkinson’s Disease are discussed.
Click here to read their current newsletter.
Did you know that Medicare.gov has a section for family caregivers?
Click here to learn more.
The association’s website has many helpful resources focused on brain and spinal cord injuries.
Click here for their newsletter.
By Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.
December 6, 2011
Finding a high-quality nursing home for a family member is a daunting task.
Many people have not had to make this decision before. And it’s often made under stress, when asking good questions and thinking carefully about your options are harder than usual.
Fortunately, more information is available that can help you learn about nursing home quality and prepare you to make a well-informed decision.
Start this process with an online tool from the Federal Government called Nursing Home Compare. This lets you look up nursing homes in your area by name, city, county, State, or ZIP Code. First unveiled in 2009, Nursing Home Compare has detailed information on every nursing home certified by Medicare or Medicaid.
Nursing homes are rated using a 1- to 5-star scale, with those earning 5 stars being rated the highest. Ratings are based on how many and what type of staff members they have, how well they perform on health inspections, and how they rank on quality measures. Ratings for each measure are given individually and are also combined into an overall rating.
Starting in 2012, Nursing Home Compare will include a new measure that includes input from the nursing home residents. This new information will take the place of the quality measures that currently appear on Nursing Home Compare. Findings will be part of the ratings starting in April 2012.
Staffing and health inspection data add important information and will continue to be a factor in each nursing home’s overall rating. The staffing measure tells you the average staffing levels—such as the number of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants—for each resident each day. This is a good benchmark, but it has limits. It does not show the number of nursing staff present at any given time or describe the amount of care give to any one resident. The health inspection measure looks at many major aspects of care in a nursing home. This includes how medicines are managed, whether food is prepared safely, and whether residents are protected from inadequate care. Inspections take place about once a year, but they may be done more often if the nursing home has several problems to correct.
Even with so much good information, the Nursing Home Compare tool and rating system won’t answer all of your questions. For example, the ratings won’t tell you if the nursing home has improved, or gotten worse, in certain areas since it was rated. That’s why it’s important to visit any facility you are considering. Be sure to ask questions of the staff, especially people who provide care to residents. It’s also a good idea to visit a nursing home a second time on a different day of the week and another time of day. You may get a better idea of changes in staff, activities, and other factors that could make a difference in your choice.
An excellent list of questions to ask during such visits is available from a nursing home checklist (PDF File; PDF Help) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). And a new handbook (PDF File; PDF Help) from CMS explains how to pay for nursing home care, describes residents’ rights, and gives alternatives to nursing home care. Another good resource is your State ombudsman; select to find yours.
click here to read more.
The Veterans Adminstration has established a National Caregiver Support Line for Caregivers of
Veterans — spouses, children, other family members and friends of Veterans as well as Veteran themselves.
for more information on the program, please go to https://duttonelderlaw.com/resources/articles.html
The Lewey Body Dementia Association (LBDA) is conducting a survey to assess if there are differences in how grief is experienced by caregivers for individuals with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease with and without dementia, and frontotemporal degeneration. The survey will also assess the well-being and quality of life for caregivers of individuals diagnosed with the neurodegenerative diseases. Internet access is required to participate in the study, and LBDA needs 500 caregivers who are currently providing care for each different disease that is being studied.
Health Literacy and Older Adults
CDC Releases Practical Advice on Developing Materials to Match the Health Literacy Skills of Older Adults. CDC’s health literacy web site (www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy) has a new section to help health and other professionals develop materials that will communicate more effectively with older adults and their caregivers. The web site includes self-assessments, background information on health literacy, steps to improve materials and links to resources about older adults and caregivers. The new content builds on CDC’s expert panel report on older adults and health literacy issues.
Click here for more information on the outreach program for people who have muscular dystrophy and their loved ones.
Blood thinners and diabetes drugs cause most emergency hospital visits for drug reactions among people over 65 in the United States, a new study shows.
Just four medications or medication groups — used alone or together — were responsible for two-thirds of emergency hospitalizations among older Americans, according to the report. At the top of the list was warfarin, also known as Coumadin, a blood thinner. It accounted for 33 percent of emergency hospital visits. Insulin injections were next on the list, accounting for 14 percent of emergency visits.
Aspirin, clopidogrel and other antiplatelet drugs that help prevent blood clotting were involved in 13 percent of emergency visits. And just behind them were diabetes drugs taken by mouth, called oral hypoglycemic agents, which were implicated in 11 percent of hospitalizations.
All these drugs are commonly prescribed to older adults, and they can be hard to use correctly. One problem they share is a narrow therapeutic index, meaning the line between an effective dose and a hazardous one is thin. The sheer extent to which they are involved in hospitalizations among older people, though, was not expected, said Dr. Dan Budnitz, an author of the study and director of the Medication Safety Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We weren’t so surprised at the particular drugs that were involved,” Dr. Budnitz said. “But we were surprised how many of the emergency hospitalizations were due to such a relatively small number of these drugs.”
Every year, about 100,000 people in the United States over age 65 are taken to hospitals for adverse reactions to medications. About two-thirds end up there because of accidental overdoses, or because the amount of medication prescribed for them had a more powerful effect than intended.
As Americans live longer and take more medications — 40 percent of people over 65 take five to nine medications — hospitalizations for accidental overdoses and adverse side effects are likely to increase, experts say.
In the latest study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Budnitz and his colleagues combed through data collected from 2007 to 2009 at 58 hospitals around the country. The hospitals were all participating in a surveillance project run by the C.D.C. that looks at adverse drug events.
A common denominator among the drugs topping the list is that they can be difficult to use. Some require blood testing to adjust their doses, and a small dose can have a powerful effect. Blood sugar can be notoriously hard to control in people with diabetes, for example, and taking a slightly larger dose of insulin than needed can send a person into shock. Warfarin, meanwhile, is the classic example of a drug with a narrow margin between therapeutic and toxic doses, requiring regular blood monitoring, and it can interact with many other drugs and foods.
“These are medicines that are critical,” Dr. Budnitz said, “but because they cause so many of these harms, it’s important that they’re managed appropriately.”
One thing that stood out in the data, the researchers noted, was that none of the four drugs identified as frequent culprits are typically among the types of drugs labeled “high risk” for older adults by major health care groups. The medications that are usually designated high risk or “potentially inappropriate” are commonly used over-the-counter drugs like Benadryl, as well as Demerol and other powerful narcotic painkillers. And yet those drugs accounted for only about 8 percent of emergency hospitalizations among the elderly.
Dr. Budnitz said that the new findings should provide an opportunity to reduce the number of emergency hospitalizations in older adults by focusing on improving the safety of this small group of blood thinners and diabetes medications, rather than by trying to stop the use of drugs typically thought of as risky for this group.
“I think the bottom line for patients is that they should tell all their doctors that they’re on these medications,” he said, “and they should work with their physicians and pharmacies to make sure they get appropriate testing and are taking the appropriate doses.”
This is a wonderful organization dedicated to advocacy, support, education, and resources to stroke survivors and their families.
To read the December newsletter, please click here.
The December newsletter contains many informative articles!
Dutton & Casey, PC (Elder and Disability Law)
Advocates for Elders, Persons with Disabilities, and their Loved Ones.
The law firm of Dutton & Casey, P.C., is committed to serving our clients with the comprehensive and personally tailored service they need and deserve. With 50 years of combined legal experience, we have acquired the depth and breadth of knowledge necessary to address the full scope of elder law and disability issues.
Our Areas of Concentration:
* Full Time Social Worker/Certified Care Manager On Staff
Arlington Heights, Chicago, Skokie, and Vernon Hills, Illinois.
Phone / Video Conferencing Appointments are also Available.
Telephone: 312-899-0950 or 847-261-3584
-please click here for a flyer on the law firm.
In Illinois, Medicaid is changing because the Deficit Reduction Act is being implemented.
Click here to read more.
Gregg Segal created a video documentary, based on the lives of a few people who have Alzheimer’s Disease.
This documentary helps to remind all of us that everyone has a past…even if the person can no longer remember it.
Click here to learn more about the project.
Our newsletter contains helpful information for older adults, people who have a disability, and the people who care about them.
Please click here to read the November issue.
For information on the online program, from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, please click here.
The Association has a program, The American Brain Tumor Association Connections Support Community, the connects patients, families, friends and caregivers for support and inspiration.
Please click here to read more.
Our e-newsletter contains resource information that is helpful for older adults, people who have a disability, and the people who care about them, including family members and professionals.
Please click here to read the October 2011 issue.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 9 a.m. – Noon
Bernard Horwich JCC Building, Heller Auditorium
3003 West Touhy Avenue, Chicago
The 2011 Linkages Resource Fair features two guest speakers, as well as opportunities for private consultations and personalized assistance from area service providers and attorneys specializing in disability-related issues.
9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Robin Jones, Project Director, Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center, Great Lakes ADA Center
Robin Jones will focus on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and other disability rights laws that impact housing, employment, travel, education, telecommunications, voting and other areas of importance.
10:45 – 11:30 a.m.
Attorney Laura Miller, Equip for Equality
Attorney Laura Miller will discuss recent legislative challenges related to deinstitutionalization of people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and physical disabilities.
Some of the service providers represented will include:
CJE SeniorLife / Jewish Child and Family Services / Life’s Plan / Clearbrook / Jewish Vocational Service /The Center for Enriched Living / Center for Independent Futures / Arts of Life / Access Living / Family to Family / The Arc of Illinois / Illinois Life Span / Thresholds / PACT, Inc. /UIC Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities
Some of the attorneys represented will include:
Dutton & Casey Associates / Equip for Equality / Attorney Julie Fox / Jeffrey A. Rabin & Associates
To register for this event or to request special accommodations, click here.
In his proclamation designating September as National Preparedness Month, President Barack Obama stated, “In April of this year, a devastating series of tornadoes challenged our resilience and tested our resolve. In the weeks that followed, people from all walks of life throughout the Midwest and the South joined together to help affected towns recover and rebuild…Disability community leaders worked side-by-side with emergency managers to ensure that survivors with disabilities were fully included in relief and recovery efforts. These stories…underscore that in America, no problem is too hard and no challenge is too great.”
Disability.gov’s Emergency Preparedness section has quite a few tools and resources that can help people with disabilities and others prepare for, and recover from, emergency situations and disasters.
Here are a few examples of the resources you’ll find on Disability.gov
• Tips for people who have pets or service animals
• Information about emergency kits and supplies
• Preparing for emergencies at work and school
• Accessible shelters and emergency housing
• Help recovering from a disaster
You can also find help in your state by visiting Disability.gov’s Information by State section and going to the Emergency Preparedness section for your state. This blog also has postings about the importance of including everyone in emergency management planning, preparing for emergencies in the workplace and taking into account service animals when planning for emergencies.
Stay safe, be prepared, and check out these other resources for more information
• Ready.gov (Listo América)
• Are You Prepared? Video Contest
• FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination
• National Preparedness Month Coalition
• Emergency Preparedness and You
• Citizen Corps
• American Red Cross
Attorney Kathryn C. Casey was a guest on “Disabled Radio” on Wednesday, August 31, 2011.
Did you know that the website for Medicare has a section devoted to assisting family caregivers?
Click here to learn more.
This web site is designed for general information only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney/client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. However, contacting us does not create an attorney/client relationship, so please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as a relationship has been established.