Archive | November, 2009

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Late into the day on Wednesday, November 18th, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ( Dem.- NV) unveiled the proposed health care reform bill senate leaders plan to bring to a floor debate at the end of November. The bill, named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a combination of the health bill approved by the HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee and the Senate Finance Committee bill.

Key elder issues:

  • Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement
  • The Elder Justice Act
  • Criminal Background Checks on Long-Term Care Workers
  • The CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) Act 

According to the NCCNHR, there’s no word yet on whether Senator Reid has enough votes to pass the bill, but he is expected to call for a procedural vote by this weekend.

Keeping up with all the recent health care reforms and bills can be quite a task. Luckily, Senate leaders prepared an overview and section-by-section analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Click here to view it.

For more information on how these proposals will affect-term care planning for yourself or a loved one, contact the attorneys at Janna Dutton & Associates.

11/23 UPDATE: On November 21st, the U.S. Senate Democrats got a “fililbuster proof 60 votes that will allow them to bring their version of health care reform to the Senate floor for debate.”  While the vote is considered historic, the passage of this bill is in no way a sure thing.  Read here for complete details from the

Geriatric Care Managers: Experts in Developing Personalized Care Plans

Caring for an elderly parent or loved one can be a full-time job. Even when a family can agree on a care plan, which is not always the case, the plethora of decisions that need to be made and the never-ending pile of documents that need to be filled out is overwhelming. In addition to that, you have your own life to live and yourself to take care of.

It’s tempting to want to handle everything yourself, but sometimes outside help can actually allow you to provide the best possible care for your loved one, not to mention allow you to take better care of yourself. In September, the New York Times published an article on geriatric care managers, or what they also refer to as the equivalent of a case worker. Aptly named, these care managers do just that–manage the care of your family member. They have both the time and the expertise that family members often do not, which can greatly improve your elder’s quality of life. (See complete article for costs)

A good care manager will thoroughly assess the individual and use that assessment to determine a care plan that will meet the individual’s needs. Amongst a variety of other changes, this could mean that home care is recommended, or that sleeping and eating times must be adjusted. Plus, using someone outside of the immediate family can help in a few ways. One family member explained that he couldn’t get his mom to listen to him, but she would always listen to the care manager. It also provides the family with the option to be the “good cop” while the care manager is the “bad cop.” Persuading an older person not to drive anymore is a good example of when the good cop/bad cop routine might come in handy (and be more effective).

Click here to see the article in full. It provides some examples of how geriatric care managers have assisted families in finding and maintaining the right kind of care, costs involved and ways to find the right care manager for your family.

Here is an interview from with a registered nurse and care manager on the benefits of care management. 

For legal advice on long-term care planning for yourself or a loved one, contact the attorneys at Janna Dutton & Associates.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

On October 30, 2009, President Obama proclaimed November 2009 to be National Family Caregivers Month.  Organizations across the country are encouraging caregivers to remember their own health and care this month and to consider senior care options.

Click here to read the President’s full proclamation.

Have a caregiver in your life that you’d like to celebrate this November, but not sure how?  Check out: Top 10 Ways to Celebrate National Family Caregivers Month.

Other related article: Caregiver’s stress: How to Care for Yourself While Caring for Others

For caregivers, another important aspect of caring for someone is making sure their affairs are in order.   For assistance with long-term care planning for yourself or a loved one, contact the experienced and compassionate elder law attorneys at Janna Dutton & Associates.

Consider Dementia’s Physical Effects When Making Treatment Decisions

When thinking about the effects of dementia, most people view it as a disease that solely affects the mind– a debilitating illness that strips an individual of his/her memories, but appears to leave the rest of the body untouched.  However, a recent article in the New York Times reminds us that the body undergoes a physical attack as well as a mental attack.  The illness is progressive and as it weakens the brain it also shuts down the body.  Doctors advise that these often-overlooked physical tolls must be understood and taken into consideration when considering the future care of your loved ones. 

 The article explains that the lack of understanding about the physical effects of dementia means that many patients near the end of life are subjected to aggressive treatments, many of which cannot possibly help them, or can even increase symptoms such as confusion and anxiety.  Researchers in a recent Harvard study found there were stark differences in treatment decisions depending on what family members knew about dementia.  Dr. Susan L. Mitchell, the study’s lead author, explained, “When family members understood the clinical course of dementia and the poor prognosis, the patients were far less likely to undergo these distressing interventions.”  She concluded that, “Dementia is a terminal illness and needs to be recognized as such so these patients receive better palliative care.” 

For the full article, click here.

For more information on long-term care planning for yourself or a loved one, contact the attorneys at Janna Dutton & Associates.