Stroke often has a severe and, sometimes lasting, impact on one’s behavior, memory, communication and physical capabilities. Caring for a loved one who has had a Stroke may feel all-consuming as well as being financially devastating and legally challenging.
Taking care of a Stroke victim may be an exhausting and difficult task. At first, the caregiver must communicate and advocate for their loved one with the hospital, the physicians and the nursing facilities to ensure that the loved one is getting the right treatment and proper care. Later, if and when your loved one can be released, you will be choosing a rehabilitation/skilled nursing facility, or if your loved one can come home you will be hiring in-home caregivers. You will also be doing the housekeeping and cooking, as well as communicating and advocating with the physicians and various therapists to ensure that the right treatments continue and therapy is provided for needed stimulation. Ensuring that the Stroke victim receives the highest quality of care will mean that he/she has the best possible chance for the highest quality of life under his/her circumstances. If the primary caregiver is responsible for this care alone, this can result in caregiver burn-out and even in the caregiver’s death due to stress and both physical and emotional exhaustion. Life Care Planning helps both the Stroke victim and his/her caregiver by providing care coordination and education services, as well as access to resources in the community that can help support both the victim and caregiver during the long recovery process.
A Stroke may also leave the victim unable to handle his or her finances or other legal responsibilities, such as paying bills and contracting for services. While family and friends may be ready and willing to help, unless the Stroke victim has previously executed good Estate Planning documents, such as a Trust, a Durable Power of Attorney, and an Advance Health Care Directive, family may be unable to assist without becoming the person’s court appointed Conservator. Creating the necessary Estate Planning documents after a stroke has occurred may not be possible if the person does not have the capacity to understand the legal consequences of such documents and effectively communicate that understanding.
The physical and mental impact of a severe stroke may also cause financial devastation to the victim and his/her spouse and family due to the cost of care. The private pay cost of long-term care for the Stroke victim in an assisted living facility can easily exceed $50,000 per year and such care in a skilled nursing facility can easily exceed $100,000 per year. Many people mistakenly believe that Medicare or their other health insurance will pay the cost of a nursing home. The truth is that Medicare or other health insurance will NOT pay AT ALL for care in an assisted living facility and will ONLY pay for UP TO 100 days of medically necessary care, such as for rehabilitation, in a skilled nursing facility following a 3-day hospital stay. Furthermore, of those 100 days, Medicare only pays for 100% for the first 20 days, after which the patient will have a significant co-payment due for the next 80 days. Further, after a Stroke, the person will be ineligible to purchase long-term care insurance. Therefore, unless he/she already has a long-term care insurance policy, the only sources for help in paying for care after Medicare stops, other than his/her own private income and savings (or those of his/her family), will be Medi-Cal and/or Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits.
At Carney, Sugai & Sudweeks, as highly qualified and experienced Elder Law attorneys, we provide Long-term Care Planning services that focus on the legal and financial aspects of providing for your loved one’s care after a crippling stroke. In addition, we now also offer the care consultation, care coordination or care management services of a highly qualified Elder Care Coordinator to our clients either as a separate service or as part of a comprehensive and holistic program called Life Care Planning.