Nursing Homes and Health Care Directives
The move into a nursing home is typically trying and difficult for the senior citizen and the close family members. Sometimes this change comes with dismantling a family home and selling the majority of the senior’s belongings. Once the senior family member is settled, however, reassessing the living will, DNR order, and the health care directive is a critical next step.
Typically, a shift in residency to a nursing home forces the family to review the estate plan. However, the health care directive is often pushed aside or forgotten because of the litany of other decisions.
Fortunately, a nursing home staff is well-equipped to help you gather some important options for end-of-life decisions. While you should ask a lawyer to write and review the health care directive, the nursing home staff can offer some much needed advice on real-life circumstances. Specifically, a nursing home staff has seen every variation of family structure and will be able to give you a few examples of unexpected problems and the corresponding unique solutions.
For example, the closest family member — who should be responsible for last minute decisions — could live thousands of miles away from the nursing home. And while he or she might be willing and able to jump on a plane and fly on a moment’s notice, sickness and death don’t want for an airplane to land. A nursing home staff can help you construct some contingency plans for difficult or unexpected problems.
While the intent of putting a senior citizen into a nursing home is ease-of-care and long-term comfort, there will be a prolonged period of difficult transition. Don’t ignore all of the challenges in this difficult time. Embrace the difficulties as a way for the entire family to rest easy once the transition is complete.