Ask The Expert: Mom fell down and is in the hospital. The hospital wants to discharge mom to a nursing home. What do I do?

posted by: Ben A. Neiburger Elder Law Attorney

First, take a deep breath. Your mother’s health probably got to the point where she no longer needs acute care in the hospital. The next step in the process is for her to go to a nursing home, or rehabilitation facility.

If your mother is covered by Part A of Medicare, Medicare may pay for between 21 to 100 days of skilled care. This will give you enough time to determine whether your mother will get better and be able to come home or if she will need to stay in a facility for a longer period of time. During this period, you may also have an opportunity to put your mom in another facility if you do not like the one she is in currently. Your mother will be eligible for the full 100 days of care, if she needs skilled care, and is either improving as a result of the therapy, or needs the therapy to keep her condition from declining. However, you should be aware that for days 21 through 100, Medicare poses a $128 per day co-pay for care. If your mother has a Medicare supplemental insurance policy, this policy may pay the deductible during her stay. Lastly, nursing home placement sometimes occurs on an emergency basis, with very short notice. This may not allow you to choose a nursing home that you think is appropriate for your mother. In this case, you may be able to change nursing homes once her condition stabilizes.

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