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Expert advice to help you plan for end-of-life care

The decision to move your loved one to a nursing home can come with a lot of question and concerns. We spoke with experts about preparing for long-term care.
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Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 18:12:01-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Nobody wants to think about end-of-life care, but Kelly Clem, V.P. of patient advocacy at Hospice Buffalo says if you don't plan ahead, you could end up in crisis mode.

"Hospitals are in need of freeing up those beds as quickly as possible so if you determine that you can't bring mom home from the hospital, that's going to be a time when they're going to say 'OK, here are three choices, pick one' and you're going to be under a lot of pressure to make that choice," said Clem.

When should you start looking at nursing homes? Clem says the sooner the better.

"If you're diagnosed with a chronic disease like congestive heart failure, Lou Gehrig's or ALS, COPD or cancer, that's the time that you want to start thinking about what if the worst does happen?"

Clem says nursing homes cost anywhere from $13,000 to $15,000 a month for a semi-private room. That's why it's so important to plan ahead financially.

Molly Coughlin is the Revenue Reimbursement Manager at Hospice Buffalo. She says most people are concerned about protecting their home so they should put it in a life estate.

"It allows the parents to remain in the home and if it's done timely enough, prior to their admission to the nursing home....right now that time limit is five years...it will protect the home."

Couglin also recommends meeting with a lawyer or financial planner and organizing important personal and financial documents.

Clem says don't choose a facility based on what you read online or see on television. Her advice? Go see them in person, "and ask to be taken to the floors and look and see what their staffing patterns are. Look at how they're taken care of, how bright it is, how engaged they are."

Other resources available to help you plan include "Neighborhood Legal Services" and "The Center For Elder Law and Justice."