The Benefits of Care Coordination and Advocacy – Life Care Planning
Mary and Wade’s Story
By: Attorney Joan Reed Wilson
Earlier this month, we announced our new focus area called Life Care Planning, which developed out of our estate planning and elder law practices. Life Care Planning is a revolutionary new way to respond to the challenges created by long life, long-term illness, or disability.
A Life Care Plan helps you get the best possible care for your loved one in the least restrictive environment–while preserving your loved one’s wealth to the greatest extent possible. Bundling asset protection, public benefits qualification, care coordination, nursing home advocacy, and crisis intervention services into a convenient package, a Life Care Plan is the ultimate protection for elders and those who love them.
Recently, we received a call from Mary (*not her real name*). Mary’s husband, Wade (*not his real name*), was in the hospital. Mary called us because we prepared their estate planning documents with us and she needed interpretation of a Trust they executed to determine how payments for Wade’s care could be made.
Mary, who is in her 80’s, was very overwhelmed with dealing with the medical professionals, and Mary and Wade’s children, although attentive and involved, all had busy jobs and families of their own. When I explained to Mary that we have a Care Coordinator on staff who could help her, she breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Now she could focus on spending time by Wade’s side at the hospital instead of dealing with the paperwork and discharge plans and finding an appropriate rehabilitation facility for Wade. You see, Mary assumed Wade would be discharged to the rehab facility that was closest to her home. Luckily, Mary made the decision to retain us to provide Wade with Life Care Planning solutions, because when our Care Coordinator, Elena, called that facility, they told her that they did not have a bed but since Mary had contacted them, they were going to place Wade at one of their sister facilities, which was 40 miles from Mary’s home.
Elena (who, by the way, was on vacation when this happened) immediately got on the phone and found Wade a bed in a wonderful facility in Mary’s hometown. Had Mary attempted to work on Wade’s discharge plan on her own, he would likely have been shipped to the facility 40 miles away. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual case, because the hospitals are under such financial pressure to discharge patients when Medicare stops paying. This is merely one example of why professional advocacy is so important.
If you or someone you know would benefit from a Life Care Plan or you are a professional who would like to learn more about Life Care Planning for your own clients, please contact us.
Attorney Wilson practices in the areas of estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, conservatorships, probate and trust administration, and real estate. Admitted to practice in the States of Connecticut and California, she is the Vice President of the CT Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), an active member of the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, accredited with the PLAN of CT for Pooled Trusts, with the Veteran’s Administration to assist clients with obtaining Aid & Attendance benefits for long-term care needs and with the Agency on Aging’s CareLink Network.