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Benefits of a Power Hospital Bed for Elderly at Home

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Today is the day I start to share all of the nitty gritty of what is going on around here. Today is about the benefits of a power hospital bed for elderly living at home.  BUT forgive me for a minute while I go on a small rant. Can I just tell you that the hoops you must jump through with insurance companies and the energy is takes to get “Sh*t” handled is overwhelming.  Never in a MILLION years would I have thought that I would become a mini-expert in elder insurance / caregiver/clean up pee/peace keeper/help with showers/tuck into bed/ be their shrink to boot!/all wrapped into one for my grandparents almost 10 years ago when my husband, son and I moved in with my parents after we sold our home, while looking for a new home. Seriously? What the heck happened!? I have NO IDEA how elderly who have no family or family that just doesn’t care, live in this world.

benefits of a power hospital bed for Elderly living at home

My grandmother is actually a bit worse off than my grandfather and she is next for a bed but I could only manage one person at a time. -ha. She is on the list for next week! I have SO much stuff to share with you guys about elderly caregiving, insurance, elder care state funded programs, daytime care, nighttime care, hiring and firing caregivers, PCA program, state funded financial assistance, Trusts, Elder Care Lawyers, medication management and more. I just have NO time to write the blog posts.  Follow us on facebook if you want live updated stuff, I share there all the time. I am hoping to wrap my head around it and try to share one topic a week because friends, there is so much to know if you are taking care of an elderly family member. 

benefits of a power hospital bed for elderly living at home

My grandfather has been getting weaker and weaker as the weeks go on. He had gotten to the point a couple weeks ago where he literally, couldn’t get himself out of bed anymore. It was to the point where one of us (me, my mom or dad) had to get up with him in the middle of the night to lift him out of bed so he could go to the bathroom. After a couple of weeks of that craziness and me pulling my back out trying to get him out of bed, I got on the phone and spent hours and days, finding out how to get him a power hospital bed. Friends, you need to be on your game when dealing with this stuff. Keep a notebook special for your elder and take notes, write down dates, times and names of who you spoke to. You need to advocate and don’t take NO for an answer. Keep moving up the chain of command if you need to. 

Here is how I got a power hospital bed for my grandfather:

#1 – I called my grandfather’s Primary Care Giver and told her what was going on. She wrote up an order to his current insurance company, indicating that he was in pain all over due to recent falls and was essentially stuck in bed, weak and unable to get himself out to go to the bathroom at night. Having a power hospital bed allows him to sit himself up and get his legs on the floor and grab his walker. 

#2 – I followed up with a case manager for Tufts that actually works at my grandfather’s Primary Care Physicians office. Check with your elders doctors office. Chances are they have a case manager who handles each insurance companies medical questions and can guide you. 

#3 – Between me and the dr.’s office, we were able to find a Medical Equipment Company that serviced our town. I asked for a list of medical equipment companies that the insurance company uses in order to help speed up the process. I got on the phone and found ones that serviced our area. My grandfather’s PCP (primary care physician) found one and they faxed the order for a bed to New England Home Therapy in Southboro, Ma. If you live in Mass, use them and ask for Deb! She is amazing and got us a bed delivered and setup in 3 hours!

#4 – I stayed in touch with my grandfather’s PCP and followed up with the Medical Supply Company ensuring they got the faxed order. You can’t just assume people do what they say. You need to follow up and make sure the fax was received. 

#5 – I called the case manager at my grandfather’s PCP to find out how to get the insurance to pay for it. Essentially, his PCP needed to fill out some forms and send them back to the insurance company as well as the Medical Supply company. This allows the medical supply company to bill the insurance company for the cost of the bed (a $200 one time fee) as well as the monthly bed fee. It’s a year long rental and you basically own the bed at the end of the year. 

#6 – Deb at New England Home Health Medical Supply scheduled her distribution center to have the bed delivered, set up and a brief training session on how the bed works. 

benefits of a power hospital bed for elderly living at home

I found out the bed was coming at 11am and we had 3 hours to move two rooms around. -ha. You see, the new hospital bed wasn’t going to fit in my grandparents existing bedroom so we switched their TV room and bedroom to accommodate the new power bed. BUT at the end of the day, my grandfather was able to get in and out of his new bed all on his own. That is the key friends……the ability for elderly to be self sufficient and independent for as long as possible.  Hopefully you found this to be helpful and if you are going through something similar with a loved one or friend, don’t give up until you get what you need. Be sure to check out our Dementia Diaries page for more info on living with Elders.

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you for this information and guidance even though I live in Texas. I have an 83 yr old hubby, still up and going, but we live in a rural area and I’m alone to take care of him…and I’m 73 so I’ll need all the tips you provide!!

    I appreciate you sharing your efforts and struggles, it helps one be aware of what is ahead and make some plans.

  2. I feel so lucky and blessed that our health care crisis was much easier in Illinois. My husband became very ill and hospitalized a few months ago. He was not a candidate for heart surgery so our PCP recommended he get Palliative care to be followed by Hospice care when necessary. I chose all the equipment I thought would be necessary. Hospital bed, air mattress, bedside table, shower bench and bedside commode were delivered in 24 hours. His Palliative Care Nurse took care of everything, equipment, meds, ambulance ride home and all home care for two months till he required Hospice Care. My husband passed a month ago, will always remember the wonderful care that both of us received. This was all paid by Medicare. The family is followed for a year by Hospice. Your blog is a wonderful teaching lesson. Thank You!

  3. I worked as a cna starting at age 17 until 20. I always worked in the dementia units. I remember walking through the halls of my high school listening to other teens whine about petty things while I was dealing with many of my sweet patients who left this world from a bad virus that swept through the nursing home. Many times I quickly made it to the bedside to hold their hand as they took their last breaths. So many had no family and it was heartbreaking. I am so happy you are able to be there for your grandparents. They are very lucky to have you!

  4. Jacquelyn says:

    Keep posting! You are a God Sent to ALL of your family!

  5. Juanita in OH says:

    Oh, Jessica! What an ordeal! I think it is so good for you to vent…you know the pressure cooker analogy, it is very important to do it frequently, lol. I know all too well what you are dealing with. I have been ill since Feb. 2001 and, not getting better. I don’t think that me dealing with bureaucracy helps one bit. I was in a medical rehabilitation center two years ago. Everything went pretty well until, at discharge time, I found out they(someone) had changed my date of birth. What a mess that was, Medicare looks for any reason not to pay a bill. You know that NO ONE wants to urinate on themselves, it is embarrassing, degrading, and just as super frustrating for the one it is happening to. Growing older becomes tougher the more you age, never mind having diseases along with that. I thank you for all the wonderful information that you share. I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. God Bless.
    P.S. I LOVE the smile on your grandfather’s face in the first photo.

  6. You are doing a superb job of sharing your daily job of caregiving with all of us. It is a tough job and often limits the time you have for doing “things” you have on your “to do list”. Often you never get around to that list. ha ha
    Again, I am URGING you and other caregiver readers of your blog to get the book “The 36 Hour Day” by Nancy Mace, MA and Peter Rabins, MD. This book was recommended by my husband’s neurologist at Univ of Md. (My husband has Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia). This book hits on so many aspects of caring for those with dementia and also provides information about medical goods and services available to help us. Additionally there is information on preparing for what is coming next with the illness.
    When you begin to get medical bills in the mail it will help you to know that Medicare pays on a QUARTERLY basis and that makes it difficult to determine how much of a bill will be paid by insurance and how much is still owed.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with all of us.

  7. Thanks for this story. I went through much of this when my brother and I cared for our mother after brain surgery. Keeping your elders at home is the best option, if available. I know you and the family are exhausted but you are exercising the best available options. Stay strong and take some time for yourself. XOXO

  8. I have to ask.. Do your parents help you with any of this? You never mention it.

    1. Oh yes of course they do! THey just are usually at work when I am doing pictures! ha

  9. Great job figuring all of that out and getting your grandfather a bed that helps him keep some of his independence a little longer. When my dad got sick and was recovering in a rehab center, we learned that his primary care doctor and the rehab place can work together to order the things he needed before being sent home. It is a lot to learn in a quick amount of time!

  10. Thank you for posting this Jessica,

    My 95 year old mom, who lives with us and who until three months ago still worked two days a week as a coat check attendant at Elizabeth Arden and was feisty and healthy and energetic, had a stroke. She recovered well from the surgery because we saw her in time and got her to the hospital. She is lucid but weak. I pray she does not give up as she is in acute rehab there and they need her to regain her strength. I will not send her to an outside facility. So now it’s a case of getting a hospital bed and moving things around and perhaps making space for a nighttime caregiver. You and everyone writing in here remind me that I’m not alone. I dread the day she will be gone. Such an inspiration in my life. But now the task at hand is to make her life as livable and loving as possible. Thank you for helping that along!