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Considering Long-Term Care Insurance

At Pintas & Mullins, we work with individuals and families who have already committed to long-term care. It's no secret that negligence and abuse in nursing homes is more likely to occur in poorly-run facilities without adequate resources. Long-term care insurance can help families pay for the highest-quality nursing home, reducing the likelihood that abuse or neglect will occur.

This type of coverage pays for all or part of nursing home, home health care, and assisted-living facility costs. More than two-thirds of Americans aged 65 and over require some type of long-term care, the best possible models of which are extremely expensive. Due to rising costs, residents and families either turn to Medicare and Medicaid or to inexpensive nursing homes. This can have disastrous results, from abusive staff to sub-standard living conditions.

About eight million people in the U.S. have long-term care coverage, which is offered by a dozen insurance companies. Many companies are beginning to offer alternative long-term care options as part of retirement or life insurance plans as well.

Broaching the subject with an elderly loved one may be difficult, but an open discussion is always the best avenue. Some families may benefit from asking outsiders to help start the conversation, such as physicians, friends and neighbors, clergy members, and geriatric screening programs. On average, people who purchase long-term care coverage are 65 years of age.

As baby boomers get older, more and more Americans are expected to enter nursing homes. Anyone considering long-term care insurance should do so carefully: shop among several policies, consult trusted advisors, and check Consumer Reports.

Choosing a Nursing Home

For those who are beyond this point, choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one is often an overwhelming and stressful time. There are many different types of nursing homes, ranging from intensive 24-hour-care to general monitoring with little active nursing. There are for-profits and non-profits, small and large, run by individual owners or large corporations.

Families must first determine exactly how much and what type of care their loved one requires. People with dementia often have unique needs that must be met, while others may need a facility that provides social and physical stimulation. People with severe mental or physical disabilities may need access to ambulatory services.

It is important to thoroughly research all nursing homes you are considering. Look into the certifications, inspection reports, past and present litigation, and health records. It's a good idea to ask for referrals from doctors, friends, organizations, and government agencies. This decision should not be hurried - take as much time as possible to select the facility that is best for you.

Smart planning now can save families immeasurable stress down the road. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect can occur without the family's knowledge, so it is important to keep a watchful eye on your loved one's wellbeing after they are admitted. If you have any concern about the quality of care, make your grievances known to state authorities.

If a nursing home resident is injured by the negligence of facility staff, contact our Chicago elder abuse lawyers as soon as possible. We have been working on these types of cases for over 30 years, and we accept clients nationwide. We offer free legal consultations to concerned residents and families.