Changing Care Facilities

Changing Care Facilities
Residents of long-term care may need to change facilities for a variety of reasons. Here’s some information to consider if your loved one needs to move to a new residence.

Often care recipients must change care facilities. Sometimes a change in the care recipient’s health or financial status causes this relocation. Other times, individual preference leads the care recipient to determine that he or she will be happier living elsewhere.

If your loved one decides to change care facilities, it is important to assess prospective new environments in terms of the services they offer. Institutional and community based-services are likely to change when your loved one changes care facilities. Even if your care recipient is only moving locally, the contracts held between the care facility and service provider may mean a change in the location or type of service that your loved one receives. You should help your loved one consider the implications of these changes before he or she decides to move. The list of services that might change varies widely depending on the circumstances, but may include:

  • Adult day care
  • Acute care
  • Chronic care
  • Homemaker services
  • Intermediate or skilled nursing care
  • Legal services
  • Protective services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Transportation
  • Visiting nurses
  • Visitor support services

If possible, encourage your loved one to investigate alternative living facilities to find the residence that best meets his or her needs. If your loved one requires specific medical attention, it is also necessary to evaluate the ability of a new facility to provide the level and quality of medical care that he or she needs.

Additionally, it is important to consider the distance of the move. If your loved one is moving locally, it is important that he or she understand that even a local move means a loss of familiar surroundings and people to some extent. For individuals who move longer distances—which often occurs so that they can be nearer to family or friends—it is important to emphasize the differences between environments, including climate, housing arrangements, and culture. Regardless, it is important that you understand your loved one’s expectations of the new facility’s services, living arrangements, and staff. Also, you should ask what your loved one expects from you, as the caregiver, and of other close family and friends in the new environment. Finally, make sure that your loved one understands your expectations regarding the prospective move.

Another important aspect of changing care facilities concerns the cost associated with moving. In many cases, care facilities have a contractual agreement with your loved one regarding the duration of his or her stay. If this is the case, your loved one may have to pay a fee for breaking this contract. Before letting your loved one’s current residence know that he or she will be moving, you should review his or her initial paperwork for such a fee.

Although changing care facilities poses some stress on your loved one and yourself, if your loved one would be safer or more comfortable in another facility, it is important to consider helping him or her to move.

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