Emergency Plan for Caregivers in Brandon by Dana Kemper and Laurie Ohall
Caregivers in Brandon have lots of concerns when caring for their loved ones, including what happens to their loved one if something happens to them. Each month, our firm provides tips and information from not only our own knowledge base, but resources in the community that work with seniors and/or persons or children with disabilities.
This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with Jill Andrew, Senior Solutions Expert, at Superior Residences of Brandon. Superior Residences is a memory care assisted living facility that has both an Extended Congregate Care license and a Limited Nursing Services license which allows them to provide services beyond those that are permissible under a standard assisted living facility license. Jill has worked for Superior Residences since November 2004. We asked Jill to share with us some advice for caregivers.
Ohall Law: What is the biggest concern with caregivers?
According to Jill, one of the things that should concern caregivers is “What happens if something happens to me?” Jill stated that many times the caregivers are so involved in the day-to-day caregiving of their loved ones that they don’t consider what would happen if they are not available to provide the care. According to Jill, 80% of caregivers experience a major medical event prior to the person they are caring for.
Ohall Law: What should caregivers do to prepare if something happens to them first?
Jill recommends that caregivers visit assisted living facilities so that the caregiver can find one where he or she would be comfortable leaving their loved one for respite care in case of an emergency. Once the caregiver has chosen a facility, make sure to provide the facility with a health assessment (which should be completed on an annual basis), Durable Power of Attorney and advanced directives that the facility can place in their file. Jill says that, if the caregiver can provide this documentation before a crisis occurs, the facility is ready to step-in and help should the need arise.
Ohall Law: What advice do you have to help caregivers figure out whether an ALF can be part of their emergency plan?
Jill suggested that a great way to see if an ALF would be a good fit for a caregiver’s emergency plan or, should placement become necessary, is to check out the facility’s adult day care program, if it has one. For example, Superior Residences of Brandon currently has a “Day Stay” program that 54 people attend. The “Day Stay” program can be used on an as needed basis and is billed on a quarter hour basis, so there are no required minimum hours in order to participate in the program. There are also no set hours, so caregivers can use the program from early in the morning to late in the evening.
Ohall Law: Do you have any examples where having an emergency plan in place helped the caregiver?
Jill shared a story in which having the emergency plan proved to be especially helpful for a couple, who we will refer to as “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” Mr. Smith, the caregiver for Mrs. Smith, fell off of a ladder and was injured. The first call he made was to 911 for medical assistance. The second call was to Jill (yes, he had Superior Residence on speed-dial) to ask for help caring for Mrs. Smith. Since Jill already had a file with the necessary documentation to immediately assist, she advised Mr. Smith to bring Mrs. Smith with him in the ambulance and she would meet him at the hospital. Mrs. Smith went to Superior Residences for respite care for several days until Mr. Smith felt well enough to take over caring for his wife (after receiving many stitches from his fall!).
We greatly appreciate Jill taking the time to speak with us on this important topic. She is a wealth of information and we look forward to sharing her invaluable tips in future blog posts!