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  • Karen McPhail, RN, BSN, MSN, CCM, CDP

Long Term Care Planning Month!

As many people know, I am a very caring yet upfront and direct person when speaking about long-term care planning! Active listening is key, but also is prudent and honest guidance. Along these lines, I will begin this month's blog.

It is always best to have a detailed plan to guide the way. To quote Yogi Berra:

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” And this may not be where you truly want to be!

Although it is difficult to plan for every possible scenario or matter that may occur in the future, long-term care planning is a proactive process that provides a detailed, holistic plan drawing on the knowledge of an interdisciplinary team of experts that covers most areas and potential situations. The following areas are covered as a part of long term care planning:

Care Management and holistic Health Support: Clinical guidance, assembling care provider team, care considerations, environment, and preferences, health insurance, maximizing funds for health and living, and specifics for supporting expressed wishes.

Legal and Estate Planning Support: Healthcare and financial power of attorney’s, wills, trusts, entitlement programs, general estate planning.

Financial Planning and Money Management Support: Budgeting, de-risking, maximizing funds, financial advisor support and planning, daily money manager and accounting assistance, understanding of long term care insurance.

Care Environment: Home accessibility for aging in place, care community preferences, short term rehab center preferences, home care companies.

Supportive Services: Transportation, activities, outings, meals, groceries, pharmacy, etc.

Cultural, Social, and Spiritual Planning: Resources and supportive programs, pastoral care, adult day care, senior centers, etc. Diversity and inclusion also discussed. Planning for past trauma to avoid triggers and retraumatization.

Transparent Communication Processes: Family counseling, guidance, and support, document storage and sharing, emergency plans, etc.

End of Life Arrangements: Palliative care, hospice, POST, funeral preplanning, legal designee.

To begin your Care Manager will do a one to one educational session to review all details and the overall process. This initial session generally takes around an hour of time, but can vary based on client needs and questions. Open communication and discussion are a key part of forming a cohesive and holistic plan. It is important to be honest with yourself and others along the way.

Preventative health behaviors are those behaviors undertaken before illness or disease occurs to promote health. As clinicians we will incorporate aspects of preventative health into your long term care plan as appropriate.

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself in preparation for planning:

  • What would you want individuals to know about your preferences for care and treatment?

  • What is really important to you regarding your life, health, and care aspects?

  • What cultural or spiritual aspects do you value?

  • What if you had a sudden, severe illness and could not speak for yourself?

  • What do you want people to know or remember about you?

  • Who do you want involved in your care? Or not involved any our care?

  • Who do you want acting on your expressed wishes or not acting?

  • What type of care do you want or not want?

  • What do you value in care providers?

  • What type of care environment is important to you?

  • Where do you want to receive care?

  • Who do you want to provide it?

  • What are your long term goals?

  • What are your primary concerns for the future?

It is important to ask yourself these questions and answer honestly. A long term care plan is fluid and should truly reflect your wants and needs for the future. After initially formed it should be reviewed and revisited each year with your care management staff to make adjustments and modifications based on goals and changes in health, finances, or family situations. This comprehensive guide and template will help you to begin this process in conjunction with our guidance and support.

Taking the time to plan will provide all individuals involved with peace of mind, confidence in making informed decisions, and the ability to navigate forward in a positive way based on expressed wishes. Reach out to a team member today to discuss and begin navigating forward!

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