Help! Mom is Going to Rehab from the Hospital

Do you want to be prepared for the sudden hospitalization of a vulnerable family member? If so, this brief article and the
accompanying video on our website should be of help.

Here are the basics: to be well prepared you need to have the authority to act on your family member’s behalf, and you need to know about one issue that is affecting our population of medically needy seniors in Florida.

Authority: Durable Power of Attorney

Your ability to deal with your family member’s financial incapacity will come primarily from your durable power of attorney document and the incapacity provisions of your family member’s revocable trust. The best person to draft these documents is the person who will later assist you with using these provisions to get help paying for long term care. You really must have these documents in place.

Knowledge of What is Happening With Our Needy Population

Approximately 58,000 Florida seniors and disabled persons who need help with their activities of daily living are waiting for an opportunity to apply for Medicaid. These people need the help of an aide in their home or they need some money to help pay their assisted living facility. But they are not currently permitted to make an application for assistance because rules for this “community Medicaid” population allow the state to toggle the money to fund these programs on and off. Lately the funds seem to be toggled “off” in all but the most serious cases, like those involving serious self-neglect and exploitation.

Things are different in a nursing home. Upon being admitted to a nursing home each person gains the right to apply for Medicaid services. No waiting list, yeah! But the right to apply goes away upon discharge from the nursing home. So what can be done?

If your family member is hospitalized and discharged to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation, then you should consider taking advantage of this otherwise bad turn of events by applying for Medicaid. When the application is approved, your family member can then take their newly acquired Medicaid benefits home or to an assisted living facility. If your loved one will return home, the benefits provided by Medicaid eligibility, like home health aides, will give your family member a better chance of remaining at home.

If your family member is discharged to assisted living, then the approximate amount of $1,100 paid by Medicaid to your family member’s assisted living will also help. So take note: transferring Medicaid nursing home benefits to a person’s home or assisted living facility lets you get your family member some help now, without being on the long waiting list.

Walt Shurden
Board Certified Elder Law Attorney