What legal decisions should be made before entering a Nursing Home?

Choosing to enter a nursing home can be a stressful time. With all the arrangements you are having to handle, and finding the right Kansas nursing home for you, it can be easy to miss some important steps or simply not be aware of all the necessary tasks at this time.

One activity that will require some effort on your part is to make sure some important legal decisions and documents are in order that involve the future care for the person entering the nursing care facility. These documents guarantee that the wishes of the person are known, fully understood and carried out by family members as well as the staff of the nursing home facility.

While each person has their own specific circumstances requiring specific legal actions, here are some of the main legal documents that most people will need to address before they or a loved one enters a nursing home.

Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney is completed in order to put the right person in place to handle financial responsibilities. The person named in this document will be allowed access to the financial affairs of the person entering the nursing home. A common task this could entail is putting that person in charge of paying bills. The degree of what access and control this named person will have can vary and will be described in the document.

Medical Power of Attorney

When choosing your Medical Power of Attorney, be sure and have several conversations about what you, the resident wish to have done under different circumstances.  Choosing the person who can fulfill your wishes is much more important than appointing your oldest child, or youngest child, this person must be strong enough when things get tough to carry out what the resident would want to happen.  The Medical Power of Attorney will be carrying out their wishes, not those of the power of attorney.

Advance Directives

This is just what the name implies, they are directives for care made in advance of those decisions needing to be made.  Many people will refer to this as a “living will,” a document that spells out for anyone, healthcare providers, family members, etc… Per example, many people choose to not have any artificial feeding should they become unable to chew and swallow food, while others say, yes please do artificial feeding if my loved one is incapable of chewing and swallowing food.  This can describe in great detail, the type of care the person has chosen or it can be simplified if you are certain your power of attorney will carry out your wishes.

Another Advance Directive is a “Do not Resuscitate Order”, also known as a DNR.  The Do Not Resuscitate Order states that the person does not want to be revived if a cardiac arrest occurs or the person stops breathing. This is only a form needed for those who choose to make this decision. All physicians, hospitals, and nursing homes should have the form available at your request. This declaration can be included in a Living Will or other Advanced Directives.

Organ Donor Information

This topic is important to address for those people who choose to have some or all of their organs donated. But more than just filling out the necessary forms, these documents should be taken to the nursing home facility the person will be entering so that staff have the information immediately if/when the person passes. Therefore, no valuable time will be wasted in keeping their wishes to help others from being carried out. You can have signed forms specifying the person’s specific wishes or simply use the person’s driver’s license if they had the organ donor option indicated on their card. You can find more information on organ donation in Kansas as well as an online form to register at Donate Life Kansas.

Need help?

If at any point along the way you need assistance in understanding these forms,  do not hesitate to contact us for help. You can call us at (316) 667-2431 or come visit us in Mount Hope, Kansas – we are just minutes away from Wichita. We understand what you are going through. We have handled these issues for hundreds of people and for our own loved ones who entered our nursing home, so know that we have the experience to provide you with the answers and assistance you need. You can also find more information and links on these and other forms at the website for the Wichita Medical Research & Education Foundation

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