Hospital to Rehab to Home: How to Ease Transitions

I’ve recently been helping a friend who has been managing her mother’s transitions from a hospital to a rehab facility and then to another rehab facility that now wants to send her home before she, or her family, is ready. It reminded me of how tough family caregiving transitions can be. I’ve been through so many of them with my parents and my sister — some smooth, others unexpected and rocky. As a study in the American Journal of Nursing found, …

10 Must-Have Gadgets for Caregivers

I’ve been a family caregiver for more than 30 years, and I’ve found that there are some gadgets that not only make my life much easier but also make the lives of those I’m caring for much safer and happier. Some of these handy items are simple, and others are high-tech. Prices can vary widely but most of the gadgets are relatively inexpensive, and one of my favorites is even homemade. You can find all of these products online, and many …

5 Hard Lessons I’ve Learned Hiring Caregivers

For more than five years I’ve been hiring paid caregivers to help care for my parents. They have run the gamut from top-notch to terrible. Along the way, I’ve learned some hard but valuable lessons: It’s time-consuming. While paid caregivers give me the ability to step away and handle other caregiving tasks, go to work and take care of myself, they also require a great deal of my time to coordinate, monitor and train — even when I’ve used an agency. Don’t fear …

Nurses Are Lifesavers

My pop, like many family caregivers, used his ingenuity to solve problems. This time, Pop was trying to figure out an easier way to help my mom out of her wheelchair and into bed. Pop was in his 90s, and anything would make it easier on him. So he rigged up a ramp from cinder blocks and particle board. If he could get her chair going at the right speed and right angle, he could run up the ramp and …

Medicare Settlement Means No More ‘Improve or You’re Out’

A federal judge has approved the proposed Settlement Agreement in the Medicare Improvement Standard case, Jimmo vs. Sebelius, clearing the way for thousands of Medicare beneficiaries to receive needed health services to maintain their current level of functioning. The settlement, which represents a significant change in Medicare coverage rules, ends Medicare’s longstanding practice of requiring people to show a likelihood of improvement in order to receive coverage of skilled care and therapy services. The Agreement, which is retroactive to the …

Industry Likes Medicare Home Care Expansion, But Cost Is Unknown

By Jay Hancock of Kaiser Health News Patient advocacy and industry groups are cheering Medicare‘s move to start paying nursing home, home care and physical therapy bills for some patients who were previously denied coverage. But how much extra it will cost the government is far from clear. The change “is expected to affect the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, perhaps hundreds of thousands” with chronic conditions, Gill Deford, a lawyer with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, told …