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Debunking the Myths of Assisted Living

     Assisted living has been earning a lot of recognition these days as a good alternative to home care, and there are about 800,000 American elders staying in those assisted living facilities. This type of care provides homier atmosphere than of nursing home care -- residents may enjoy personal care and assistance with daily living activities – but there are some limitations. However, most people thought that assisted living will provide the same services from either in-house or nursing home care that is far different from one and the other. And one the most unconvincing myth is that assisted living will replace home care.
Most AL programs are conservatively established to promote long term care services for seniors with chronic ailments, but not those with acute illnesses. AL facilities have respective staffing architecture and guidelines to attend the various requirements of its residents and to meet the expectations of the latter’s families. Registered or licensed health professionals are hired to ensure the health and welfare of its residents.

The program may offer more advanced services to elders who have developed acute illnesses. Nevertheless, Medicare does not qualify coverage for assisted living services, so it is more likely people will pay on their own. Medicare demands extensive assessment of the services; for example, home health agencies must provide documentation or reference on every visitation by the caregiver or home health aides. Unfortunately, home care services can be covered by Medicare, but not on assisted living services.

Patients or recipients must be “homebound” as part of the part A (the Hospital Trust Fund) before they become entitled for Medicare home health benefits. The definition of ‘homebound” is a bit complicated and incomprehensive, so what does it exactly mean? Residents or participants who gather together – share meals, participate in activities, etc. – are considered as homebound, and this condition ma y not be permanent. Moreover, residents can still attend other activities other than the acceptable activities such as participating in day care programs, attending church, and visiting a doctor. Medicare Part B covers medically-necessary services (physical, occupational, speech therapy) on some selected home health agencies for non-homebound patients.

However, some assisted living providers have their own Medicare-certified home health agency. They do this simply to organize things better in compliance to Medicare requirements on services and focus more on the management of care for the residents. Medicare prohibits any AL provider from restraining patients in choosing their Medicare reimbursed home health providers. AL residents may choose which certain providers or Medicare-certified agencies they want to obtain the services.

Medicare is also aware of the possible changes in the person’s medical needs, for instance the need for nursing home care rather than home care. Seniors become more frail and vulnerable as they age, and, thus, their needs increase. Any drastic changes in the person’s health (weight loss, nausea, etc.) that require round-the-clock monitoring and supervision explain the shift from assisted living. Rehabilitation therapy is needed when a person receiving AL is no longer capable of moving around, or loses any functional abilities. The Medicare outpatient rehabilitation benefit can be used along with assisted living and is less strict than the home care benefit. Otherwise, it is important to get long term care quotes to know the costs of assisted living services.

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Assisted living is a good choice for long term care to help the elderly enjoy independence during their later years. Know the different care options and get long term care quotes.

Posted on 2011-04-01, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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