Our elder care office motto is to get the best care, then figure out how to pay for that care without going broke. We have four excellent elder care law attorneys at Rothkoff Law Group. However, I am most proud of our ability to help families navigate the complicated road of long-term care through our five geriatric social workers who we refer to as elder care coordinators (ECC). Our ECCs allowed us to progress from an elder law firm to a health care advocacy law firm, which we refer to as Life Care Planning. Our firm’s ability to engage in Life Care Planning has allowed our clients to receive quality care in the least restrictive environment.
Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with family members, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, facility staff and others will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents.
The Nursing Home Reform Law, passed in 1987 and updated in 2016, guarantees nursing home residents their individual rights, including but not limited to: individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain, and the right to make independent choices. Residents who have made their home in other types of facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living centers, adult care homes, and other long-term care facilities, maintain their rights as U.S. Citizens. Residents’ Rights Month raises awareness about these rights and pays tribute to the unique contributions of long-term residents.
The goal of Life Care Planning is to give the family a powerful advocate to ensure that a loved one’s rights are being protected. The ultimate goal is to empower residents with individualized care that is focused on each person’s needs and preferences. We attempt to protect assets in the right circumstances. However, we want to first ensure the client receives the best care possible.
How does a Life Care Planning Law Firm help families protect the rights of nursing home and assisted living residents? An Elder Care Coordinator serves as a sounding board, coach, educator, and intermediary for family caregivers, helping them to resolve concerns. Our ECCs attend care meetings at the nursing home and assisted living to help families better understand their loved one’s situation and help address any concerns or questions family members have.
They educate the family caregivers on how to be an advocate for their loved one, following the chain of command in each facility, getting to know the caregivers, etc. Our ECCs remind caregivers that if they have any questions or if they feel that after advocating for their parents they need some additional support from the care coordinator, they are to contact us.
Janie DeLeon Male, our Director of Care Coordination, has been with our Elder Care Law firm for almost thirteen years. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of family caregivers advocate for the rights of their loved ones who are living in nursing homes. One of the most common issues she deals with happens when the nursing home wants to move a resident to a different room because it may be more convenient for the facility, not because it’s what is best for the resident. Janie informs the facility that the law states that residents have the right to know why they are being moved and have the right to give input into whether they want to be moved. A move is not automatic just because the facility wants it to happen.
It is important to remember that the nursing home is your loved one’s home. It is not the nursing home’s role to control them.
Health care advocacy has allowed our Elder Care Law firm to truly make a difference for the betterment of those we represent. I started my career as an Elder Law Attorney. I have now become an Elder Care Attorney. That is a title I wear very proudly.