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If my loved one needs to leave their home because they can't take care of themselves, where can they go and who pays for it? Can they be forced to leave their home if they don't want to?

In Arizona, there are so many good care options for seniors. It may be possible for your loved one to remain in their home with the addition of support services including in-home caregiving and geriatric case management. If placement outside the home is needed the amount of care they need will determine where they should go and how much it would cost. Please refer to the section on Long Term Care for more information. Long term care can either be paid for through private funds, long term care insurance, ALTCS, or the VA for qualified veterans. Please refer to the Resource section for more information.

Your loved ones will likely never be “forced” to leave their home unless except in an extreme circumstance. The state will usually only get involved in cases of abuse and neglect, and even then they are limited in what they can do. The best way to navigate this difficult situation would be to have an open dialog with your loved one and identify what their goals are and work together to develop a plan to reach those goals. It would be wise and helpful to involve a health care professional like a social worker, nurse, geriatric care manager, or even their physicians.

What is the difference between Home Health and Hospice?

Home Health is a service provided through an agency that brings physical, occupational and speech therapy, skilled nursing, and social services to the patient with the goal of transitioning the patient back to their home environment after a hospitalization or debilitating episode. Hospice is a team of health care professionals including physician, skilled nursing, social services, spiritual care, and volunteers that provide end of life care for those with a certified six month or less prognosis that are no longer seeking aggressive treatment for their condition. Both services are offered in the patient’s “home”; which could be a private home, assisted living home, assisted living community, or possibly a skilled nursing facility in the case of hospice only. Home health is designed to bring a patient back to the medical and physical condition they were at prior to a debilitating episode. Hospice is designed to provide comfort care to those no longer seeking aggressive treatment. Home Health will usually last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and Hospice will last several months. Home Health will discharge when a patient has returned to prior level or care goals are reached, Hospice may discharge if a patient is no longer meeting the Medicare criteria but will typically follow a patient until they pass away.

Why was I discharged after only a few weeks from Home Health?

Home Health services are a bridge that help patients transition back into their home environment after a debilitating episode. It is designed to be temporary, but occasionally home health does stay involved for an extended period of time. Home Health will typically receive authorization for a set amount of visits, but can request additional visits as needed.

Why should I avoid hiring a friend or acquaintance to provide care in the home?

Hiring a family friend, someone that someone you know knows, or even a caregiver that was introduced to you through a home health or hospice agency can be risky for two main reason. First, if that person is sick, goes on vacation, finds a better paying job, or simply changes their mind you could be left without a caregiver when you need them the most. Second, there is the potential for litigation as they would not be insured through an agency. Using a caregiving agency where the caregivers are employed by the agency, licensed, bonded, and insured will give you the peace of mind knowing that if your caregiver is not available the agency can send another, and if something happens they are under the agency’s insurance umbrella. You might save some money skipping the caregiving agency, but it could be very costly in the long run.

If I am out of state and I need someone to help manage my loved one's care, is there someone I can hire?

Yes, a Geriatric Care Manager, also known as an Aging Life Care Professional can provide those eyes and ears on your loved one if you are not able to be present yourself. Their services include regular assessments and visits, connection to resources, coordination of care with physicians and other health care providers, avocation, coaching, and socialization.

What do I do if I feel like my loved one is being abused or taken advantage of?

If you feel like your loved one is in immediate danger contact 911. If you fear that your loved one is being physically, emotionally, or financially abused you can contact Adult Protective Services at (877) 767-2385 or a report can be filed online at https://www.azdes.gov/landing.aspx?id=7436. Reports cannot be anonymous. If your loved one is in Long Term Care you may seek assistance from an Ombudsman.

Why did I get discharged home from the hospital with home health instead of going to a rehabilitation center?

There could be several factors that could have been part of developing your discharge plan. An admission into a sub-acute rehabilitation center requires a three day qualifying hospital stay (day of discharge does not count as a day). It also requires that there be a skilled reason that could include, but are not limited to, a need for high level of therapy, complex medical condition, medication management, or altered mental condition.

How long can I stay at the rehabilitation center?

A person will remain admitted in a sub-acute rehabilitation center as long as there is a skilled reason for admission. For some patients this could be a few days and for others it could be several months. Keep in mind that insurance coverage can vary and it is important to know your benefits prior to being admitted. Please refer to the section on Sub-acute rehabilitation for more information.

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