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.
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.
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.
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.