Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hospitalization: What's the Difference Between Holding for Observation and Being Admitted?

Daughter and I took advantage of a free lecture by an Eldercare Attorney group a few nights ago. 

As with so many of these "free" offerings, I usually hate to attend because there's a catch, a push. I usually avoid the postcards or invitations to a FREE dinner or talk because I don't like to be placed in a position of feeling obligated -- which is exactly what many want you to feel.

Happy to report this was a positive return on our investment.  Great opportunity to learn and to pass on to you, who are interested and can benefit from information that's usually difficult to come by, hidden deep inside many long and tedious publications, articles or documents but so very necessary to have in your personal portfolio of critical aging survival information.

One topic was the expense of medical care as we age or provide care for loved ones and focused on what I've been writing about "How Medicaid has become the long term care provider for the middle class."

The speaker provided some excellent information and the company provides a Resource Center on multiple topics with publications lining their walls from various respected resources. 

I asked what they had on Lewy Body Dementia. One thin pamphlet brought forward while literally shelves and individual displays filled with Alzheimer's information was available. 

Need to remedy that shortage and change the presenter's reply to the person who asked what was Lewy Body Dementia; she said it was "another form of Dementia" and that was the sum and total of her remark. 

We who experience this still unacknowledged devastating medical condition know how important it is to see and understand Lewy Body Dementia.

The time was well spent at the presentation. No blatent taking anyone aside, no feeling you couldn't leave if you wanted. Appreciate this approach; this dedication to the cause we all face of aging and helping others age positively.

As much as I've researched and through all the laborious experiences and challenges I've had, there's still a great deal to learn.

Did you know, if you take your Senior loved one to a Hospital and the hospital says they'd like to keep the person "for observation" that this is not the same as "admitting"?  

What difference does that make in their care? 

The bottom line is what Medicare will pay and what they won't and I believe you, and I know I, don't/didn't realize there could be a significant difference.

There are major differences and they may affect the level of caregiving, the suggestion for treatment and various other inclusions or exclusions the hospital or individual doctors may make or give.

With Medicare, "observation" is referred to as being an "outpatient" while admission is considered an "inpatient".

This "distinction" is very important because the monetary responsibility paid can be significantly higher and the level of coverage (read that as percent and/or dollar amount) can be very significant.

Here's reference from the source,  click through to this short explanation: Medicare 

The costs of your decisions can be signifcant and the coverage, or amount you/the Senior pays, can be a financial shock; it can even put you on Medicaid long before you/they need to be.

Please don't expect someone to counsel you at the time. Social Workers in the hospital are simply referral agents -- referring you to possible organizations who "might" be able to help; usually with pamphlets or a hospital designed resource.

Hospitals and Doctors give general information. 


YOU are responsible for getting the facts and it's knowing the questions to ask, the BEST resources to use -- all, usually, in a very small amount of time.

IMPORTANT:  The 8 page article is very informative about coverage in a Long Term Care Facility, also known as a Skilled Nursing Center. It's worth a second reference:

Here's the click through again:

Reading these 8 pages can be a lifesaver and a ways and means of ensuring your loved one/you receive the best level of care -- or at least are prepared when presented with the bill.

Within this blog is a goal to educate, to raise awareness, to start conversations, to create collaborations, to bring to light so much that has remained in darkness . . . and above all, to place a higher value on those who do not have the ability or the knowledge and give them information and capability.

It's one of my concerns we will all end up on Medicaid if we live long enough --a
nd today's Medicaid is not a system of hope and a means of a lifeline -- it's not the support we believe it will be when we've reached a point where we can no longer provide for ourselves or for those we love and cherish.

It's a system. It's a procedure. It's minimal. It's degrading.

Caregivers and those in need of medical care are being torn apart emotionally and physically by a system of healthcare that needs significant change.  

What will you do today to spread the word reforms are needed for the aging and for all who need medical support?

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