Health Information

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Health Information

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters.

For a summary of the basics involved in planning, please click here.

Medicaid Preventive Dental Services Now Covered for Adults Effective July 1, 2018

Effective July 1, 2018, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will cover diagnostic and preventative services as an adult Medicaid dental benefit. The new benefit will allow adults enrolled in Medicaid to receive periodic dental exams and cleanings by a dentist enrolled in the Medicaid program. The new benefits are a result of funding that was added to the 2019 fiscal year budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly.

Prior to July 1st, preventive and diagnostic dental services such as cleanings were not covered for adults enrolled in fee-for-service Medicaid and only restorative and corrective benefits were covered. Adults enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans accessed preventive dental care as an "extra benefit" that was voluntarily provided by plans. Preventive dental care will now be provided to all adults enrolled in Illinois Medicaid, and Medicaid managed care plans will be reimbursed for preventive dental care for services provided on and after July 1, 2018.

To view the HFS Provider Notice, visit this link.

Communication Symptoms with Dementia

“Communication breakdown” in Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia are consistently listed among the stressors for caregivers. Read a list of some of the terminology used in describing the effects of the disease, some of which limits the person who has dementia.

POLST (Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) Form

A POLST form is intended for a person who is seriously ill or with a life-limiting illness. It is a signed medical order reflecting a person's wishes that travels with the person across settings of care that must be honored by all healthcare providers.

Palliative Care

Living with a serious illness can create physical challenges like pain, symptoms or side effects from medication…and even emotional concerns like anxiety or depression…that can affect your quality of life.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses, offering expert pain and symptom management to treat the whole person, at any age, and at any stage of illness.

How Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Attorneys Can Help People Diagnosed with MS

A series of five videos developed to help those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and their families and caregivers to understand how elder law and special needs planning attorneys can assist with their particular legal needs.

Next Step in Care: Family Caregivers and Health Care Professionals Working Together

Next Step in Care, a campaign of United Hospital Fund, provides hospital admission and Emergency Room guides to provide basic information about “observation status” and what to ask. This information is important as it is a rising trend to be in an "observation" rather than "in-patient" in the hospital.

Healthcare Communication Board for Medical, Physical, and Emotional Information

For people who are unable to speak, this tool will assist with communication. Click here to download the publication.

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters.

For a summary of the basics involved in planning, please click here.

Resources for those affected by Stroke

Careliving, a program from the National Stroke Association

Careliving is an online social network that allows caregivers and family members of stroke survivors to connect, share and support one another.

Click here to download the publication.


Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other (SSEEO)

Providing advocacy, support, education, and resources to stroke survivors and their families.

Click here to learn more.

Tips for Caregivers of People with Dementia

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Research has shown that caregivers themselves often are at increased risk for depression and illness, especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends, and the community.

"End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care"

Helping With Comfort and Care provides an overview of issues commonly facing people caring for someone nearing the end of life. It can help you to work with health care providers to complement their medical and caregiving efforts. The booklet does not replace the personal and specific advice of the doctor, but it can help you make sense of what is happening and give you a framework for making care decisions.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease: Your Easy-to-Use-Guide from the National Institute on Aging.

A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities

The Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Illinois Chapter is pleased to offer a free online resource, Encouraging Comfort Care: A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities. This 21-page booklet provides useful information to families and staff of long-term care facilities about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, particularly care issues related to the late and final stages.

For families, this guide will enable them to make informed choices about a variety of medical decisions they may face on behalf of loved ones with dementia living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other types of care facilities. It will also equip families to ask good questions aimed at obtaining the best care for their loved ones, including a handy checklist of comfort care measures to be discussed with staff members of care facilities.

Frontotemporal Disorders

Few people have heard of frontotemporal disorders, which lead to dementias that affect personality, behavior, language, and movement. These disorders are little known outside the circles of researchers, clinicians, patients, and caregivers who study and live with them. Although frontotemporal disorders remain puzzling in many ways, researchers are finding new clues that will help them solve this medical mystery and better understand other common dementias.
Frontotemporal disorders can be grouped into three types, defined by the earliest symptoms physicians identify when they examine patients.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a complex and challenging brain disorder. It is complex because it affects many parts of the brain in ways that scientists are trying to understand more fully. It is challenging because its many possible symptoms make it hard to do everyday tasks that once came easily

Vascular Dementia and Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia in older adults after Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) result from injuries to vessels that supply blood to the brain, often after a stroke or series of strokes. The symptoms of vascular dementia can be similar to those of Alzheimer’s, and both conditions can occur at the same time (a condition called “mixed dementia”). Symptoms of vascular dementia and VCI can begin suddenly and worsen or improve over time.


Housing

Resources

Housing and In-Home Help

What Is Home Care?

“Home care” is the general term for the services that may be brought into the homes of people to assist them. Individuals served may be recovering from an illness or accident, coping with a chronic illness or facing a terminal illness. The type and amount of home care they use depends on their needs.

Click here to read a guide to hiring in home help.

Guide to Care Plan Meeting

Click here to download the publication written by Erin Vogt, LCSW, a social worker and client care coordinator at Dutton Casey & Mesoloras.

Guide to Choosing an Elder Law Attorney

This resource explains the unique qualifications of an elder law attorney and how to locate one.

United States Department of Labor (USDOL) - Changes Rules for In-Home Caregiver Pay

Effective 1/1/15, the USDOL changed rules regarding pay for all in-home caregivers across the country.

There are five new changes to the rules that need to be considered:

  1. Caregivers must be paid at least the minimum wage.
  2. Caregivers must be paid for overtime (any work more than 40 hours in one week).
  3. Travel time is compensable between job sites.
  4. Live-in rule changes.
  5. Recordkeeping requirements.
Resident Rights

People who live in care facility residents are guaranteed certain rights, protections and privileges according to Illinois and Federal law. Click to download the following publications:

Resident Rights for People who are LGBT

This factsheet highlights federal residents' rights and nursing home requirements that may be of particular importance to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) residents and provides options for complaint resolution, information for reporting abuse and resources regarding long-term care and LGBT advocacy.

Medicare Coverage of Skilled Care

This booklet, published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, details how, and when, Medicare will pay for skilled care.

Click here to download the publication.

A Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home

The “Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home” is prepared by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS and states oversee the quality of nursing homes. State and Federal government agencies certify nursing homes to participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

Click here to download the publication.

A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities

The Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Illinois Chapter is pleased to offer a free online resource, Encouraging Comfort Care: A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities. This 21-page booklet provides useful information to families and staff of long-term care facilities about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, particularly care issues related to the late and final stages.

For families, this guide will enable them to make informed choices about a variety of medical decisions they may face on behalf of loved ones with dementia living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other types of care facilities. It will also equip families to ask good questions aimed at obtaining the best care for their loved ones, including a handy checklist of comfort care measures to be discussed with staff members of care facilities.

Click here to download the publication.

Illinois Pioneer Coalition

The Illinois Pioneer Coalition was organized to provide long term care settings with the education and tools needed to effect deep culture change, thereby transforming long term care settings into real homes and improving the quality of life for individuals and staff in various settings throughout Illinois. Click here to learn more and obtain a booklet and questionnaire regarding obtaining quality care in a nursing home.


Advocacy/Rights

Resources

Advocacy/Rights

It’s Not All About Death and Taxes: Preventing Elder Financial Exploitation Through Estate Planning

While this article was written primarily for attorneys, the information it contains can be helpful for all.

Understanding the Four Cs of Elder Law Ethics

Your parent or other elder relative is getting legal advice. Why am I left in the waiting room?

Shouldn’t you be included? After all, you might be very involved in helping him or her with important matters. Perhaps you even arranged for this appointment.

There are several reasons why lawyers need to meet with your family member or friend alone for at least part of the case evaluation process, so please don’t be alarmed or offended. Family involvement is very important, but try to understand the way legal services are provided to elder or disabled clients. It may help first to understand the “Four Cs” of elder law ethics that lawyers are required to follow. We are happy to discuss these ethical guidelines or any other aspect of our legal services. Above all, we seek to promote the dignity, self-determination, and quality of life of your loved one.

Another Tool to Protect Vulnerable Adults

It might be too late to assist the family of Ernie Banks, whose will was changed in 2014 to the benefit of his caregiver, but this statutory tool will protect others from being victimized by non-family caregivers of persons requiring care. Attorney Janna Dutton, an active advocate for vulnerable adults for over 30 years, as a member of the Illinois National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys wrote a new section of the Probate Act, “Presumptively Void Transfers” Public Act 098-1093.

Avoiding Scams Cornering Living Trusts

Not everyone will benefit from a living trust and not everyone who offers them is reputable.

Guide to Choosing an Elder Law Attorney

This resource explains the unique qualifications of an elder law attorney and how to locate one.

Fraud Alert

Published bi-weekly, The Fraud Alert is published by Age Options and the Illinois Empowering Seniors to Prevent Healthcare Fraud project, and contains very helpful information, for all of us. Click here for more information.

Illinois Yellow Dot Program

The Illinois Yellow Dot Program is a statewide initiative to provide vital medical information on vehicle drivers and passengers. This program, coordinated through the Illinois Department of Transportation, is designed to provide first responders information during the ‘golden hour’, the time immediately following a crash. For more information, please click here.

Questions to Ask When Looking for an Elder Law Attorney

This brochure contains questions to ask when looking for an elder law attorney. 

Educational Resources on Financial Abuse

Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Consortium on Geriatric Education, and the Investor Protection Trust published resources related to financial protection and resources for assistance.

A Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home

The “Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home” is prepared by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS and states oversee the quality of nursing homes. State and Federal government agencies certify nursing homes to participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

Click here to download the publication.


Medicaid

Resources

Medicaid

Even Gifts Allowed by the Internal Revenue Service Are Subject to a Penalty for Medicaid

With the 2018 increase of the amount that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will allow a person to gift free from gift tax reporting, from $14,000 per person to $15,000 per person, per tax year, there is greater opportunity for tax-free gifting. This was the first increase in the tax-free annual gift limitation in five years. As a result, any person who gives away $15,000 or less annually to any one individual does not have to report the gift or gifts to the IRS. Gifts to spouses never have to be reported.

Why Engage an Elder Law Attorney to Prepare Your Medicaid Application

The Illinois Medical Assistance Program (“Medicaid”) is the health care program for individuals who do not have another form of insurance or whose insurance does not cover what they need, such as nursing home or supportive living care. A significant number of people must look to Medicaid to pay for their nursing home and supportive living care. However, the eligibility rules are complicated for applicants for Medicaid long term care.

Click here to download our article entitled "Why Engage an Elder Law Attorney to Prepare Your Medicaid Application."

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters. For a summary of the basics involved in planning, please click here.

How to Pay for Skilled Care

One of the things that concerns most people about a nursinghome is how to pay for that level of care.

What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare and Mediciad sound alike and many people use the words interchangeably. However, they are two different programs.


Special Needs Trusts

Resources

Special Needs Trusts

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust can be an important tool for a disabled individual who is, or may become eligible, for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid but has excess assets preventing eligibility. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the Social Security program that grants income to people who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled with limited income and assets.

ABLE Accounts

“ABLE” Accounts are a recent creation of federal law designed for individuals with disabilities to allow them to have a tax-free savings account which does not affect eligibility for public benefit programs such as SSI and Medicaid. States must establish the ABLE Account Programs. The new Illinois ABLE Account program is administered by the Illinois Treasurer’s office.


Special Needs Planning

Resources

Special Needs Planning

Is Your Child with Special Needs Turning 18 (or Already Has?)

If so, you probably have many questions. You may be wondering:

  • Should I apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration for my child?
  • Is my child eligible for Illinois Medicaid program benefits?
  • Do the funds I and other family members set aside for my child’s education impact his or her eligibility for SSI and Medicaid?
  • Should I be appointed guardian for my child?
  • What might happen if I do not have a guardian appointed for my child? and
  • Do I need a Supplemental or Special Needs Trust for my child?
Brochure on Guardianship

This brochure contains general information on the topic of guardianship. Click here to download the publication.

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters. Click here to read an article, written by Janna Dutton, Certified Elder Law Attorney, regarding this important topic.

Healthcare Communication Board for Medical, Physical, and Emotional Information

For people who are unable to speak, this tool will assist with communication. Click here to download the publication.

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust can be an important tool for a disabled individual who is, or may become eligible, for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid but has excess assets preventing eligibility. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the Social Security program that grants income to people who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled with limited income and assets.


Elder Law

Resources

Elder Law

A Video About Working with a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)

The process of finding and choosing an elder law attorney begins by identifying that you need an elder law attorney. So the question is: Why would you ever need an elder law attorney?

You have decided to take the advice of your friends, family and financial planner and have your estate planning documents prepared. Who should you hire — a traditional estate planner, or, an elder law attorney? While most elder law attorneys are estate planners, most estate planners are not elder law attorneys. Traditional estate planners focus on the transfer of your property at your death and minimization of estate taxes. While elder law attorneys also plan for transfer of property at your death as well as estate tax minimization, in addition, they attorneys formulate plans that also help protect your assets while you are alive, both from the expense of long term care as well as from financial exploitation in your later years. Also, elder law attorneys craft plans that protect you and your estate if you become incapacitated

The Illinois Medical Assistance Program (“Medicaid”) is the health care program for individuals who do not have another form of insurance or whose insurance does not cover what they need, such as nursing home or supportive living care. A significant number of people must look to Medicaid to pay for their nursing home and supportive living care. However, the eligibility rules are complicated for applicants for Medicaid long term care.

Your parent or other elder relative is getting legal advice. Why am I left in the waiting room? Shouldn’t you be included? After all, you might be very involved in helping him or her with important matters. Perhaps you even arranged for this appointment.


Estate Planning

Resources

Estate Planning

Why You Should Choose an Elder Law Attorney

You have decided to take the advice of your friends, family and financial planner and have your estate planning documents prepared. Who should you hire – a traditional estate planner, or, an elder law attorney?

While most elder law attorneys are estate planners, most estate planners are not elder law attorneys. Traditional estate planners focus on the transfer of your property at your death and minimization of estate taxes. While elder law attorneys also plan for transfer of property at your death as well as estate tax minimization, in addition, the attorneys formulate plans that also help protect your assets while you are alive, both from the expense of long term care as well as from financial exploitation in your later years. Also, elder law attorneys craft plans that protect you and your estate if you become incapacitated.

Avoiding Scams Concerning Living Trusts
10 Common Estate Planning Questions

A comprehensive article for this is available for download below.

Managing Someone Else's Money
Brochure Regarding Powers of Attorney

This brochure provides very general information on powers of attorney. Download the publication below.

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters. Click here to read an article, written by Janna Dutton, Certified Elder Law Attorney, regarding this important topic.

It’s Not All About Death and Taxes: Preventing Elder Financial Exploitation Through Estate Planning

While this article was written primarily for attorneys, the information it contains can be helpful for all. Download  the article below.


Family Caregiver

Resources

Family Caregiver

Tips for Helping Family Members with Finances

Click here to download the publication written by Erin Vogt, LCSW, a social worker and client care coordinator at Dutton Casey & Mesoloras.

Guide to Care Plan Meeting

Click here to download the publication written by Erin Vogt, LCSW, a social worker and client care coordinator at Dutton Casey & Mesoloras.

Guide to Choosing an Elder Law Attorney

This resource explains the unique qualifications of an elder law attorney and how to locate one.

The Family Caregiver; A Guide to Doctor Visits

Doctor visits can often be a source of conflict between patients and their family caregivers, who may have different ideas about the things to discuss with the doctor. This guide, from the United Hospital Fund, provides practical tips to help patients and family caregivers coordinate agendas before an appointment and to communicate effectively together during the doctor visit - tips that will help avoid conflict as well as get the most out of the encounter with the doctor.

Home Safety Video from the Family Caregiver Alliance
Role of the Power of Attorney for Property

Attorney Janna Dutton, JD, CELA has written a comprehensive article about the Role of the Power of Attorney for Property

Managing Someone Else's Money
Why You Might Be Left Out of a Relative's Meeting with an Elder Law Attorney

When you bring a family member or friend to meet with an elder law attorney, you might expect to sit in on the consultation. However, elder law attorneys need to meet with their clients alone for at least part of the consultation, so be prepared to spend time in the waiting room.

Although your instinct may be to sit in on your relative's meeting with the attorney in order to help explain the relative's situation, a new brochure from the American Bar Association explains why elder law attorneys need to meet with their clients without anyone else present. While elder law issues often involve lots of family members, usually the attorney can only represent one person without a conflict of interest arising. Even if you are the one paying the bill, the lawyer's client -- usually the older person -- is going to be the person whose interests are at stake in the legal planning.

Click here to read the brochure from the American Bar Association.

Resources for those affected by Stroke

Careliving, a program from the National Stroke Association
Careliving is an online social network that allows caregivers and family members of stroke survivors to connect, share and support one another. Click here to download the publication.

Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other (SSEEO)
Providing advocacy, support, education, and resources to stroke survivors and their families.
Click here to learn more

Resource for Veterans

The Veterans Administration has established a National Caregiver Support Line for Caregivers of Veterans — spouses, children, other family members and friends of Veterans as well as Veterans themselves. The purpose of the support line is to provide a centralized location for information and support regarding providing care for a Veteran. The support line responders are licensed social workers who provide guidance, education on VA programs and benefits, information on community resources, and emotional support. When a Caregiver or Veteran needs additional assistance or a connection to their local VA medical center, a referral is made to their Caregiver Support Coordinator.

To reach the VA Caregiver Support Line call toll free 1.855.260.3274. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern Standard Time and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Obtaining Local Resources

The Illinois Department on Aging contracts with local agencies to assist people locate resources and services. Click here for information on these agencies.

Healthcare Communication Board for Medical, Physical, and Emotional Information

For people who are unable to speak, this tool will assist with communication. Click here to download the publication. Click here to download the publication.

Tips for Caregivers of People with Dementia

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Research has shown that caregivers themselves often are at increased risk for depression and illness, especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends, and the community. Click here to download the publication.

A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities

The Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Illinois Chapter offers a free online resource, Encouraging Comfort Care: A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities. This 21-page booklet provides useful information to families and staff of long-term care facilities about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, particularly care issues related to the late and final stages.

For families, this guide will enable them to make informed choices about a variety of medical decisions they may face on behalf of loved ones with dementia living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other types of care facilities. It will also equip families to ask good questions aimed at obtaining the best care for their loved ones, including a handy checklist of comfort care measures to be discussed with staff members of care facilities. Click here to download the publication.

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters. Click here to read an article, written by Janna Dutton, Certified Elder Law Attorney, regarding this important topic.