Necessary Documentation When Moving to an Assisted Living Facility
A crucial step in the assisted living admissions process is to prepare certain legal documents before an elderly parent or other loved one is unable to make financial or medical decisions on his or her own. Essential documentation includes documents that grant certain powers to others or ensure that your family member gets the proper level of assisted living care.
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
Although an elderly family member must be mentally competent at the time he or she executes the document, a durable financial power of attorney gives the appointed agent the authority to perform financial
transactions. The named individual can also handle other financial and legal responsibilities should your loved one become mentally or physically incapacitated later on.
Durable Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney-also known as a durable power of attorney for health care-gives one or more agents the authority to make health care decisions for an elderly family member residing in an assisted living facility. You should discuss with your loved one in advance his or her wishes concerning critical medical decisions in the event the person becomes too ill to direct his or her own medical care.
Your loved one may want to draft a living will-a document that informs others of the types of medical care he or she will accept. Living wills generally address end of life medical care, including life-sustaining
assistance such as ventilators to support breathing, feeding tubes, and dialysis.
An advance directive is another legal document that lets other individuals-including the person’s doctors- know what he or she wants in regard to decisions involving removal from life support, administering
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and/or organ donation. In some states, the law allows an individual to combine a medical power of attorney and living will into one document, which is what an advance directive is.
If your loved one lives in a state that offers a Medicaid Waiver program to assist with the cost of assisted living, you can help the person apply for the program either before or after he or she makes the move to an assisted living facility.
Your family member must meet both the financial and medical eligibility criteria to qualify. In addition to the income requirement, the waiver programs in many states require that the assisted living resident have
a specific medical condition or meet the qualifications to receive a particular level of care.
Physical Assessment Form
Before your loved one enters an assisted living facility, his or her health care provider must complete a physical, or health, assessment form. The form includes information relating to the person’s medical history and diagnoses, cognitive or behavioral status, and physical or sensory limitations.
In completing the assessment, the health care provider can indicate medical or therapy services your loved one needs, as well as to what extent the person may need assistance with daily living or self-care tasks.
Assisted Living Resident Agreement
Your loved one must sign a resident agreement-a contract between the resident and the assisted living facility-before moving in. It’s important for you and your elderly family member to read the admissions agreement carefully before signing it.
You may also want to have an attorney review the resident agreement contract, which should list the services your loved one will receive and the types of care the staff provides. The document should include the fee schedule and any extra costs.
Individual Service Plan
As part of the admission process, the facility must provide a service plan detailing the specific services your loved one will receive. The service plan should describe how each of the services will be provided, who will provide a service, and how often the resident will receive a particular service. Service plans, also known as care plans, are updated at regular intervals or more often if the need arises, especially if the person’s condition improves or deteriorates.
If you have additional questions about the application or admissions process when considering an assisted living environment for an aging parent or other loved one, the professional staff at Cedar Village are happy to provide more information.