At the end of October my husband’s aorta dissected for the second time. Surgeons operated on him three times in a desperate attempt to save his life. During the third operation, which lasted 13 hours, he suffered a spinal stroke and his legs can’t support his weight. My husband will be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. He also has a deep back wound that requires the use of a vacuum drainage system. This wound will eventually heal, but it will take several months.
Our house has two sets of stairs, so he can’t come home, and we have to find a new home for us. Because our house has lots of stairs, he can’t come home, and we have to find a new home for us. In my town the demand for assisted living exceeds the supply.
During my research I answered four key questions. Answering these questions may help you.
1. How much health support is available? The housing manager of one facility made it sound as if there was sufficient support. But the director of nursing said I would have to hire home healthcare for my husband. These costs are in addition to rent, parking and storage fees. While the facility is adding a new wing for a continuum of care, it won’t be ready for a year, too late for us.
2. Can the assisted living facility meet your needs? The facilities I contacted were afraid of wound care. A hospital social worker offered to deliver a wound care vacuum to one facility and train the nursing staff in how to use it, but the facility rejected the offer. Next week he is being transferred from the hospital to a nursing home that will care for his wound and continue physical therapy.
3. What is the policy on healthcare equipment? One assisted living facility would allow my husband to have a hospital bed, but doesn’t allow patient lifts. My husband needs a lift in order to transfer from his bed to a wheelchair. Not being able to have a lift was a deal breaker for us.
4. What happens if you run short of funds? The assisted living facility may have financial assistance programs to help residents. A facility owned by a church group may allow you stay if your funds are exhausted. It’s best to ask about finances now, rather than later.
The demand for assisted living is increasing, so start early. Do your homework and create a separate file for each facility. Your church, social services, and the public health department may aid you with your search. Visit the facilities and talk to some of the people who live there. Compare the information carefully and choose the best place for you – your new home (learn about involuntary discharge from a facility).
Copyright © 2014
by Harriet Hodgson
- Article by Harriet
Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
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