Technology & Home Health Care

Ashley Day

Ashley Day Associate Attorney Sivia Business & Legal Services

The pace at which technology has recently grown is astounding. Just 20 years ago, it was impossible to imagine how much we’d have available at our fingertips. These advances don’t just result in entertainment and convenience; they have transformed the capabilities of at-home care.

New devices, apps, software and machines make it possible to consistently monitor a variety of different health issues. Doctors are able to review your vitals, health information and daily health decisions from afar. Individuals and caregivers are using technology to monitor their own health and the health of their loved ones. Technology has also grown the way in which we can learn and communicate to others struggling with the same health problems.

Social media allows access to organizations, support groups, peers and endless amounts of information. Folks are now able to navigate through this difficult journey without feeling alone. They can easily reach out and talk to others experiencing the same issues.

This isn’t just helping with moral support. These new devices are creating a remarkable at-home care experience. Here are examples of the emerging technologies:

  1. Medication Management Systems – Whether you’re on one or 20 different prescriptions, these management systems can help with medication dispensing, timing/reminders, organizing, identifying and much more.
  2. Activity Tracking Bands – Now you can easily be proactive about your health. Individuals and their caregivers can easily track nutrition, fitness and healthy sleep patterns.
  3. Cardiac Monitors – These devices can track cardiac ECG and rhythm. It allows individuals to remain independent while their heart and general health are being monitored from afar.
  4. Health Sensor Phone Cases – You can now purchase smartphone cases embedded with sensors that can measures blood pressure, ECG, heart rate, blood oxygen, temperature and more.
  5. Emergency Response Systems – These products will come to the rescue, whether you’ve fallen or are experienc­ing more serious symptoms of seizure, these can alert others of your emergency.
  6. Elder Care Software Systems – These systems can coordinate with teams, families and patients to provide enhanced communication for all parties. These mobile and web-based systems assist the patient care experience by keeping everyone involved, connected and aware.

These are just a few of the amazing things out there today. When it comes to home healthcare, don’t over look the conveniences of some of these devices. They could not only help during your day-to-day routine, but could potentially save a life.

How has technology changed your situation?Do you have a favorite device or system? Share it with us!

 

 

 

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How to Search for the Perfect Nursing Home

Ashley Day

Ashley Day Associate Attorney Sivia Business & Legal Services

 

Whether you or your loved one choose to live in a nursing care facility or it becomes necessity due to illness or disability, the decision to utilize long term care services can be overwhelming. Does Medicaid apply? Will Medicare pay? Are you financially prepared to self-pay? It is stressful. And that is just the paperwork.

The most important decision is choosing the care facility itself. How do you know you are making the right choice?

Certainly your initial research may be conducted online. I suggest visiting the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services website at http://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ and the Illinois Supportive Living website at http://www.slfillinois.com. Medicare also provides a Nursing Home Compare Report at http://www.medicare.gov. I also recommend asking friends and family who have already gone through the process. They are likely to have additional insights that may be helpful.

Once you have narrowed your search to three or four facilities, be sure to schedule a tour of each one. Take a friend or family member with you—this provides you not only emotional support, but also another trusted opinion.

As you are touring the facilities, take notes on:

Fees – What is included in the price? Do the fees include all meals, care and personal care products? What services are additional? What are you required to provide for your loved one?

Cleanliness – Are the residents’ rooms clean? Does the facility smell? Are the bed sheets stained or in poor condition? Are the residents clean and dressed appropriately?

Care – Is onsite therapy available? What is the staff-to-resident ratio? Will the same staff member be regularly caring for your loved one? What is the turnover rate?

Quality of Life – Are there available activities in and out of the facility? Is there transportation to shopping or other events?

Plumbing & Electricity – Do toilets work? Light switches? Outlets? Is there hot/cold water in the sink and shower?

Location – Is the facility near you or other loved ones? Is it in a safe area?

Certifications & Licenses – Is the facility Medicaid certified? Is the administrator and nursing staff certified? Are the nursing assistants and other staff well trained?

Before you make a final decision, consider visiting the home on a different day of the week at a different time. You can evaluate if staff changes affect patient care. Also, be sure to include the opinions of the person needing care in the decision process. After all, he or she needs to be comfortable.

In closing, this can be a stressful time for everyone involved. But all of your time and effort will be well worth it if your loved one is at peace with the new living arrangements.

For information on elder law or assistance with planning, visit our website at www.sivialaw.com. You may also reach me at 618-659-4499, or email me at info@sivialaw.com.

 

Using a Wheelbarrow to do the Job of a Pick-up Truck

Ashley Day
Ashley Day, Attorney, Sivia Business & Legal Services

I recently encountered the phrase “Alternatives to Guardianship” in an article specifically written to inform parents of high-school children with special needs, which referred to the following as general alternatives to Guardianship

  • Durable Power of Attorney (POA)
  • Special Needs Trusts (SNT)
  • Family Guidance
  • Assistive or Supported Living Services
  • Financial Representative

To be clear: there are planning tools in lieu of, and/or in addition to, Guardianship and there are different forms of Guardianship, but there are no alternatives to Guardianship.

For illustrative purposes, imagine the following:

1) Guardianship = a pickup truck;

2) POA = a wheelbarrow;

3) SNT = a shovel,

…then consider these statements:

  1. A Power of Attorney is an alternative to Guardianship like a

wheelbarrow is an alternative to a pick-up truck.

  1. A Special Seeds Trust is an alternative to Guardianship like a

shovel is an alternative to a pick-up truck.

  1. A Special Seeds Trust is an alternative to a Power of Attorney like

a shovel is an alternative to a wheelbarrow.

Guardianship, Durable Power of Attorney and a Special Needs Trust are different tools with different purposes used to accomplish specific goals based on the unique needs of the individual and their family.

It is imperative for parents of children with special needs to understand the capabilities of each instrument and ask the advice of an experienced attorney as to which tools are best for them and their child. Not every tool is needed in every case. But only an attorney who is knowledgeable about special needs planning can help you put together a plan that will take care of your child throughout his/her lifetime.

While the terms “Guardianship” and “Power of Attorney” and “Special Needs Trust” can be intimidating, they can also be the tools you use to provide your child with the highest quality of life possible.

Simple Steps to Strengthen Working Relationships

Ashley Day

       Ashley Day, Sivia Business & Legal Services

Improving work relationships do not always require you to change your entire routine. Often, the smallest actions have the most significant effect.

  • Meet people at work and bake cookies for new employees.
  • Invite someone to Happy Hour who tends to be left out.
  • Empathize with and respect people with whom you disagree.
  • Never do anything alone. Always ask others to join you.
  • Talk admirably about others behind their backs.
  • Start a book club and read together.
  • See the good in everyone and tell others what you see!

Gina Gunn, from Waterloo School District, shared this list with me. Can you imagine how different our working environments would be if we each instituted one or two of these ideas?

Building a Team For a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

 

Ashley Day

Ashley Day

 

In football, it takes a team of 11 players on the field for every down even though it only takes one player can score a touchdown. Similarly, caregivers often feel like the only person capable of caring for a loved one. They often forget that it takes an entire team working together to make a play successful.

In fact, the help provided by others can minimize the stress felt by caregivers. Developing a “care team” may help caregivers lessen the overwhelming feelings that they often experience. Family, friends, neighbors, health care professionals and community volunteers may all be willing to take on a little responsibility and lighten your load.

As a caregiver, you know understand the needs of your loved one. But you need to articulate your needs, as well as those of your loved one, to those willing to help. Match tasks with the best person for the job. A neighbor might be willing to assist with lawn care or picking up the mail. An out-of-town family member can schedule regular times to call the loved one to check in. Look for a community group offering meals on wheels or a similar program.

Care teams also give your loved one additional personal contact and socialization. Even a quick visit once a week can have numerous psychological benefits.

Most importantly, make sure everyone on your care team is aware what steps to take in an emergency. Make a plan, post it everywhere, and check with your team members to make sure everyone is on the same page. Be aware what your loved one’s wishes are concerning health care directives.

Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience for both of you. But, taking care of yourself is just as important and taking care of someone else. Let others lighten your load and give you the time you need to continue being the best caregiver you can be.

For more information on elder law or assistance with planning, visit our website at www.sivialaw.com. You may also reach me at 618-659-4499 (Edwardsville), 618-372-4111 (Brighton), or email me at info@sivialaw.com.

 

 

Choosing the right Special Needs Trust

Ashley Day  Associate Attorney  Sivia Business & Legal Services

Ashley Day
Attorney
Sivia Business & Legal Services

Special Needs Trusts are the bedrock of effective planning for a beneficiary with disability-related special needs. Still, deciding which option requires considering specific information about you and the intended beneficiary. What are your goals, hopes and expectations for the beneficiary’s future? What are the beneficiary’s current and future needs? How have you planned for the beneficiary to date? Who else is involved in the beneficiary’s life, and what is each person’s role?

An honest evaluation of your financial situation and the beneficiary’s future situation is necessary to determine which SNT, if any, best fits your circumstances. The below list represents some, though not all, important considerations:

  • Age of the individual with disability-related special needs
  • Cause/onset of disability, including age of onset
  • Impairment(s) – (physical, developmental, cognitive, mental, emotional)
  • Diagnosis and prognosis
  • Age of the primary caregiver(s), if any
  • Financial circumstances
  • Current living arrangement
  • Future living arrangement (best case, worst case, unacceptable)
  • Activities of daily living
  • Need for/existence of a care plan

Careful consideration of all potential circumstances, as well as the consequences of potential options, permits an attorney to draft a special needs trust that is personalized for your loved one and appropriate for his/her situation.

If you are considering the benefits of a special needs trust, you can contact me at 618-659-4499 or email me at info@sivialaw.com. In the meantime, visit our Special Needs Resources page for templates, videos and checklists at www.sivialaw.com/specialneeds.html.

Why You Should Consider Mediation Over Traditional Divorce

Ashley Day  Associate Attorney  Sivia Business & Legal Services

Ashley Day
Associate Attorney
Sivia Business & Legal Services

By Ashley S. Day

Going through a divorce is no doubt a stressful and emotional time. There is no avoiding this truth. However, there are ways to mitigate the emotional rollercoaster and lessen the red tape that typically accompanies divorce proceedings. A mediated divorce–sometimes referred to as a “friendly divorce”–is a quicker, less expensive alternative available to spouses who are parting amicably. There are several benefits to a mediated divorce, but here are a few that my clients find most valuable.
1. Confidential
Court is a public forum. Anyone can sit and watch your divorce proceedings. Mediation, however, remains completely private.

2. Convenient
Mediation allows you, your spouse and mediator to pick the day and time that fits your schedule. In fact, mediation can take place anytime, anywhere.

3. It’s personalized.
Mediation is a hands-on process. Unlike a judge, a mediator gets to know you and what matters most to you.

4. Practical.
Unlike court documents that tend to be full of legal mumbo-jumbo, mediation useslanguage you can understand. A mediated agreement is based on the law and your family’s unique needs.

5. Mutual compliance.
Instead of ending up with a legal agreement neither of you agree with, mediation gives you the ability to resolve the issues most important to you, and your spouse, in a non-confrontational environment.

6.Empowering.
Don’t sit and wait for a phone call or an e-mail update. With mediation, you are an active participant in the entire process.

7. Considerably cheaper.
One mediator costs a lot less than two attorneys. Plus, the process is often completed in significantly less time. It all adds up to more money in your pocket.

8. Faster.
Why let your divorce drag on for years? A mediated divorce can take as little as two – three months.

9. It’s peaceful.
Unlike a driven-divorce attorney, a mediator is focused on maintaining the peace and creating solutions that will benefit both of you.
But the most important reason to consider a mediated divorce is that mediation puts your children first.

If you are considering a mediated divorced, or would like more information regarding our family law practice area, please feel free to contact me at 618-659-4499 or at info@sivialaw.com. You can also visit us online at www.sivialaw.com/familylaw.