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Should I Move My Loved One?

As the current Covid-19 pandemic continues and experts predict that the peak in the number of new cases is expected to be reached sometime this month we have been taking calls from family members who want to know whether they should consider moving their loved one to another facility or to their own home.   There isn’t a one size fits all answer and it depends on the facts of each particular case, however, there are a number of things to consider.

The first point – which is obvious to most of us – is that just because Facility A where my mother resides has had reported cases of the virus and Facility B has not, does not by itself mean Facility B is safer.  The virus continues to spread exponentially.  Facility B may not have any cases when I move her in but that doesn’t mean tomorrow or next week there won’t be an outbreak.  Most facilities in the state now have limited outside visitors to their buildings so that it will also probably be impossible to see Facility B before I make a decision.

How about if I move Mom to my home temporarily?  Is that safer?  Maybe yes and maybe no.  It depends on who I am living with.  If a member of my household must continue to work during this government ordered lock down who is that person being exposed to?  Does that expose my mother to a greater risk than she would have in Facility A?  What happens if a member of my household becomes infected?  Can I keep my mother safely away from that person?

And what about my mother’s care needs?  Will I need to bring in a home aide to care for her or will I or another family member be able to provide the care?  I must take steps to screen and limit who my mother interacts with just the same as a facility must do.  Keep in mind that the facility may have concerns about my Mom’s virus exposure when I am ready to return her to the facility.

There is also the matter of finances.  If I have sufficient funds to pay for Mom’s care, then it isn’t a concern.  On the other hand, if I am spending down assets at Facility A and will need to apply for Medicaid soon or I have applied already and am waiting for a decision, how is that impacted if I move Mom?

If I take Mom home temporarily will we lose her spot?  If Mom is in an assisted living facility with a private pay requirement and she leaves can I get her back in when the current crisis subsides and still be able to get a Medicaid slot?  These are questions that must be addressed with the facility directly.

If I have already applied for Medicaid but not yet received a decision moving Mom won’t impact the application itself, however, that still may not guarantee Mom a spot if I have removed her from the facility in which she resided when I applied.

These are especially trying times and there are no easy answers but with the right guidance hopefully each family can make the best decision for their loved one.