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Source: An Open Letter to Joy Behar
A bath bench, that extends over the side of the tub, is a good option, especially if you have lower limb weakness. It may not work if your tub/shower is enclosed by a sliding glass door. However, there are several shower chairs and benches to choose from. You might want to shop around for the best price.
I have seen some people use a light weight plastic chair, but I consider them too unsafe, because they are unstable.
No matter what type of chair, it is important that you have grab bars, securely installed in the shower/tub and by the toilet. Also, an elevated (riser) seat for the toilet will help keep you safe.
Usually someone who has had a hip replacement is eligible for a few home health visits by a therapist, who can evaluate the equipment and make suggestions for adaptations to keep you safe The therapist will also help you learn how to get in and out of the shower/tub without hurting yourself. Even if you received inpatient therapy after surgery, I always recommend a Home Health visit by a therapist. They can adapt their teaching based on the actual home situation.
It is important that people give copies of their healthcare advanced directives to their healthcare providers and facilities, so their wishes can be honored. Such documents include DNR (do not resuscitate), DNI (do not intubate) and/or Power of Attorney.
Be sure to check my book, Healthcare Handbook for Senior Citizens and Their Families at: http://www.seniorhealthbook.com for more information about advanced directives.
The Medicare rules for hospice services require certification from 2 physicians to verify that the individual is expected to live 6 months or less, if the disease runs its natural course. Usually, the 2 physicians would include the individual’s primary care physician. This is the person that you would want to consult with first. The other physician can be the medical director of the hospice agency.
It is expected that anyone who receives hospice services will no longer receive any life saving treatments, such as chemotherapy. The focus will then become the alleviation of physical, emotional, and social symptoms. Hospice can provide some valuable end-of-life services for patients and families.
The 6 month rule does not mean that if the individuals do not die in 6 months, they can no longer receive hospice. It just means that they need to be recertified by the hospice agency.
If one is not quite ready to make the decision for hospice services, it does not hurt to investigate obtaining palliative care services that focus on alleviation of symptoms experienced with diseases and their treatments. Receiving palliative care does not automatically disqualify one from continued life saving treatment.
My book, Healthcare Handbook For Senior Citizens and Their Families, provides more details about Hospice services and end-of-life care. See my website http://www.seniorhealthbook.com. Also, you can find information about the hospice regulations on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services CMS website (www.cms.gov).
A common question that is asked on discussion websites for caregivers is: Where do I get financial assistance for Skilled Nursing Facility or assisted living care?
My book: Healthcare Handbook for Senior Citizens and Their Families, describes the types of facilities available for assistance and care. It also discusses the different payer sources and their rules and regulations.
There are many sources available for financial assistance but the assistance depends upon the types of services required for the individual and that person’s financial situation. Regular health insurance and Medicare usually will not pay for care, if the need is only for assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and meals. Unfortunately, there are many people in their final years who fit in that category. Often this care is what drains individuals’ and/or couples’ savings.
Throughout the book, I encourage purchasing Long Term Care Insurance. The sooner you get it, the cheaper it will be. Many of these insurances cover care in a nursing home, assisted living or at home.
Last year, we had a winter visitor with dementia, who was still driving, reported missing. It was believed he was trying to drive back to his home state. His remains were found a year later, about 100 miles away, in the dessert. Very sad.