Checklist: 4 Critical Steps To Take After A Fall
As a Board Certified Elder Law Attorney I understand that when a loved one falls their life may forever change and it can be extremely frightening. Falls can lead to fractures and result in the need for rehabilitation and long-term care services. A person’s mobility can be reduced and there can be a loss of independence and quality of life. Some tips for reducing the likelihood of falls are:
- Regular vision and hearing check-ups;
- Regular review of medications by a physician;
- Exercise to improve balance and strength; and
- Take steps to make the home safer (i.e. grab bars and shower chair; removing unsafe rugs).
My staff and I can help educate and guide you toward solutions. I would like to share with you the most critical steps to take shortly after a fall occurs:
1. Hire an elder law attorney to be part of your professional team (i.e. medical doctor, financial advisor, accountant, care manager). Your elder law attorney will explain the elder’s rights as a patient and a Medicare beneficiary. We can explain the 3-Day Rule for Medicare coverage in a rehabilitation/skilled nursing facility, the Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice and other rules. You will be better able to plan for important issues that lie ahead and know the laws that help you.
2. Work with an aging life care manager. An aging life care manager offers many benefits including, but not limited to: advocating for the elder and their medical treatment; making recommendations on which rehabilitation center to select or, coordinating rehabilitation outpatient services; and how to make the home safe prior to discharge (which may include employing home health services).
3. Have the Elder’s Legal Plan Reviewed & Updated. Existing medical advance directives and Durable Power of Attorney should be reviewed to ensure they will address the elder’s needs. If they are not adequate we will need to meet with the elder. The elder must be mentally competent to sign new legal documents. If there are no legal documents in place and the elder does not have legal capacity we will discuss a guardianship.
4. Engage In Long Term Care Planing. Explore with your elder law attorney what resources are available to finance the elder’s long-term care (long term care insurance; Medicaid; Social Security benefits; Veteran benefits). Gather income, asset and liability information so the meeting is productive and identifies solutions.