Elder Law & COVID-19

During these challenging times it is difficult to know what the right thing to do is.  Our elder law practice depends on a flow of new patients entering Nursing Homes with families who need to find a way to gain eligibility for nursing home benefits under Medicaid.  When we take on these cases, our client is the patient in care, not the family members who come to see us.  This means that we owe our duties to the client, the person in care.

Right now we would not recommend entry to a nursing facility to most clients who ask.  It is not that nursing facilities are bad places, or that the people there are not professional caring people.  They are.  Nor is it that we have any medical expertise to help them make that decision.  It is rather that the current problem is a political and legal problem.

Nursing homes are the dumping ground for acute care facilities, hospitals, who have nothing else to do with those who are COVID-19 positive.  The law does not let them stay in a hospital once stabilized, but the community cannot afford for them to be on their own.  Anyone who has a choice, even a short term choice, is probably better off not being transferred to a nursing home if there is any safe, viable, alternative.

Every senior should be thinking about the future and about the fact that between the exorbitant cost of care at home and the reality of how long we take to die, they are likely to need nursing home care in the future.  So, every rational senior should be thinking about planning for the future.  We would be very happy to have a client list full of people properly positioned for nursing home benefits if and when they need them rather than cases of people desperate to find help in the first few days of admission to care.

We have implemented protocols that allow us to conduct all of the services needed by our elder law clients from a safe distance with the same effectiveness as our traditional office environment.  Until there is a vaccine, or until government regulations permit licensed hospitals and nursing home to manage the realities of the COVID-19 world, we are hopeful that most families will be able to bridge the gap between hospital and nursing home and we would encourage them to seek out elder law advice that helps them to take best advantage of the time they have before admission.

This article is written by an attorney at Attorney Donald Wyatt PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today, please click here to contact us.

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