How can Families get Started in Planning a Nursing Home Placement for a Loved One?

Guestblogger: Ginalisa Monterroso, Entitlement Analyst, Archcare at Mary Manning Walsh Home

How can families get started in planning a nursing home placement for a loved one?

  • Families really need to do lots of research. Use the internet, visit the neighborhoods and facilities and look for reviews that are done by people that have had their family members in the nursing home. Search for a facility where your loved one’s immediate needs are met, ask questions, see if they have an available rehabilitation center, what foods they will serve, how they can cater to your loved ones, what insurance the nursing home will take.
  • Always visit and ask questions.

What is the New York Patient Review and how and where can it be completed?

  • It is a “quick” medical assessment of the patient’s needs – it states what the patient is being treated for, the diagnosis, any symptoms, medications, needs and requirements medically per the doctor’s orders,(as opposed to going through an entire medical chart it is a 7-page summary of all the medical needs of a patient (type of care, type of equipment needed, etc.) so that nursing homes can make a quick assessment).  It can be completed

What is the admissions agreement?

  • This is an agreement that is generated by the facility stating all the requirements of what the facility offers for the resident as far as the needs, insurance (required), payments needed, it is a breakdown of what is included in regards to services, room and board, rehabilitation, insurance, notification on insurance being discontinued, the guidelines for where to go if your insurance is discontinued. Everyone should always read the agreement, it is important to know what is going to go on in a facility when you admit your family member.

How does one pay for nursing home care? Can it be subsidized?

  • There are a lot of options to pay for care. There are short-term options and long-term options. Medicare covers a short-term stay, it also covers assistance in-state nursing facilities (up to 100 days); if you need an extension, or a longer stay, there are other insurances that may cover the extra duration of the stay, for example, a long-term care policy, or medicaid. Paying out-of-pocket is very, very costly.

How do you complete the Medicaid or Medicare application?

  • Call the Social Security Administration and get your family member on Medicare. You should have the Medicare before you go into a nursing home. Medicaid can always be done once the family member enters the nursing home if the need for an extended stay is necessary. There is a financial person on site who can assist with applying for Medicaid. You should always have long-term care insurance set up before your nursing home placement.

What happens if I am a long distance caregiver or when the patient lives out of state?

  • The process of searching is still the same. Ask questions! Technology today has expanded – – do they have an online site? You can view the facility and take a tour online. Ask to speak to the directors of each department (especially admissions).

What legal assistance is required (or preferred) when dealing with a nursing home?

  • Emergency situations where people haven’t planned in advance are surprisingly common in nursing home placements.  You always want to have a power of attorney; go to a certified elder law attorney (CELA®) when dealing with your loved one. A CELA® member knows all the rules and regulations and will know what needs to be done or prepared in regards to entering a nursing home. Guardianships and financial planning are also important to discuss with a CELA® member to ensure that your loved one’s stay is comfortable.

What rights do patients have while they reside in a nursing home?

  • Patients have the same rights as they would as if they were not living in a nursing home: the right to privacy, to not be discriminated against, they have all the same rights as they would as if they were living at home. No one can make any decisions without asking a resident or confirming with a guardian or social worker (who are always on-site).  The family member has a right to find out what is going on (medically, financially) with their family member or loved one.  They are to be notified of any emergencies or needs that their loved one may have as they change.

What is the best advice you can give to family members on how to place your loved one in a nursing home?

  1. Be preparedPlan Ahead
  2. Look for symptoms in family members who are becoming frail or ailing
  3. Keep paperwork in one place (medical, financial and legal records)
  4. Make sure that you have discussed the needs and wants of your loved one so you are prepared if an emergency takes place (in regards to finances, health and legal matters)
  5. Speak to a certified elder law attorney (CELA®) to ensure your family members’ needs are met – it always helps down the road.

To learn more about elder law, elder care or nursing home placements, visit

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