End-of-Life Care Ethics: NYC Hospital Made Home for Heiress for Twenty Years

Posted By: Julie Northcutt

End-of-Life care sparks opinions and contemplation for everyone, especially for those of us working in the senior care industry who have witnessed a variety of scenarios.  Hospice care was established to help families navigate through the details and emotions of saying goodbye to a lifetime of friends and family and.....assets.  It seems that time after time it is the assets that can cause problems for everyone for many years after someone has deceased.

Following estates and how they are divided and contested makes for fascinating reading.  The dramas can be better than the best movies and even become the material for movies.  Even when everyone thinks the estate has been firmly settled and legally structured, the heirs can bust a move to contest an issue.  Remember Lady Astor?  Her son seemingly (and a court agreed) convinced her to sign a new will after her memory loss had begun.  

Huguette Clark is the most recent heiress who has some relatives wanting more money from her estate.  A reclusive copper heiress, she collected dolls and found solace in playing with dolls as an adult and lived her last 20 years at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.  She had no children, but her distant relatives did inherit some of her money and now they are digging for more dollars, filing documents in Manhattan Surrogate court that seem to show the hospital also begged Mrs. Clark for dollars.

In one e-mail, the CEO of Beth israel joked that a Manet painting Mrs. Clark donated the hospital did not bring as much as they would have liked at auction and joked that Mrs. Clark "didn't take the bait and offer a half dozen more."  Mrs. Clark gave the hospital more than $4 million dollars and stayed at the hospital until her death at age 104, in addition to the millions she privately paid to stay at the hospital.  She also donated another $1 million in her final, contested, will.

The fact that a hospital allowed someone who perhaps was depressed, but did not need acute medical care, to remain as a patient for 20 years raises ethical questions.  Might have there been a better environment for Mrs. Clarke to live in to address her emotional needs? The fact that the hospital did keep her for so many years and continued to ask her for donations is alarming.  The New York Times reports some of the more disturbing facts, such as the hospital sending staff out to research the Clarke family in order to better understand her wealth.  Mrs. Clarke paid the hospital $1,200 a day for her room.

Sometimes it seems, doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, should take precedence.  A grown woman who watches the Smurfs cartoon and plays with dolls all day probably is not in the state of mind to make donations in the millions to a hospital and to decide she should stay indefinitely in a hospital -  it does not take a degree in medicine to know that.  It takes everyone to be a watchdog for ethics, including senior caregivers.  The Inspector General's office can be one place to report senior abuse and instances of Medicare of Medicaid fraud.  It will be interesting to see how Mrs. Clark's heirs are able to gain some restitution from Beth Israel Hospital.

However, this scenario also begs the question:  where the heck were Mrs. Clarke's heirs during the 20 years she was staying at the hospital?

Research your senior care options ahead of time and plan for the costs of senior care and rehabilitation which often takes place in a nursing home.  This way, if you happen to have an uncle who was a copper baron from Montana, you may better be prepared for how to plan.  

Right at Home and Home Instead Senior Care Companies Hit Sales Milestones

Senior caregiving services continue to grow, as nearly 10,000 Americans turn age 65 every day and enjoy longer lives with the assistance of caregivers.  Two pioneers in senior home care services, Right at Home and Home Instead, are headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Omaha World-Herald reports today that Home Instead surpassed $1 billion in franchise-level sales in 2012 and features Caregiverlist in the report.

Caregiverlist provides the senior care industry's first and only career center for professional senior caregivers created by industry professionals, in an effort to provide high quality senior caregivers.  Currently, there is a shortage of caregivers in some areas of the country and recruiting more caring individuals to work as professional caregivers continues to be an industry initiative.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. Take a moment to look into clear calm waters full of pretty waterlilies. Thank you for caring for our seniors. Remember more caregivers are needed, please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools. 

 

"Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded."

Executive Speechwriter Newsletter

Memorial Day Adds Emotions to Caregiving

Memorial Day, like so many American holidays, has evolved to become a 3-day weekend and a time to connect with family and friends.  Older Americans, however, very often do feel the true meaning of Memorial Day as they are reminded of all the friends and family members who have passed away.  Caregivers will experience the added challenges of caring for the emotional aspects of aging which includes dealing with the loss of loved ones.

The healing process of grieving takes time and even though professional therapists counsel that grieving a loved one takes 2 years, there will always be triggers that can spur more emotional memories.  In addition, some seniors are grieving the "long goodbye" of a loved one who may be living but no longer be emotionally available because of Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.

Losing loved ones when we know they are diagnosed as terminal is actually the healthiest way to say goodbye.  But how do we help someone who is recovering from the death of a friend, spouse or family member?  

Listen and let them talk about their memories and what they miss about the person.  Allow them to cry and to laugh and to share.  Encourage them to find a way to celebrate the memories.  The ritual of visiting the cemetery to place fresh flowers on the grave markers on Memorial Day is a healthy way to celebrate the memories of a loved one.  Asian cultures make a shrine to their loved one which they keep in their homes.  They will light candles and celebrate the birthdays and holidays while remembering and honoring their deceased loved ones.

Senior caregivers can also share their own memories of loved ones who have passed on.  One caregiver who recently won a scholarship from the California Association for Health Services at Home shared the story of how caring for her grandparents who both died while in hospice care, inspired her to become a professional senior caregiver and go on to nursing school.

Everyone has a story of a loved one they have lost and still hold the memories in their hearts.  Let Memorial Day be a day to share the memories. And if you meet anyone who may be considering a career as a senior caregiver or who would like to just assist others and work part-time, refer them to a senior caregiving job.

 

 

 

Digital Alternative Medicine to Hit Market in 2014

New technology continues to change our lives. Today almost everyone has a smartphone or knows someone who does. And now, technology will soon remind us when to take our medicines as well as eliminating lapses between refills, as missed pills and improper doses is one of the major causes of more health complications. To solve this problem, advances in medicine can eliminate harmful side effects that come with people misusing their medication. Digital drugs and digital bottles are expected to hit the market in 2014 or early 2015.

Pills with sensors, the size of a grain of sand, are in the process of development by Proteus Digital Health.  The sensor in the pill track who is taking the medicine.  The data transfers to a one-use strip worn on the taker’s skin and then sent to a mobile application.  At the user’s consent, their caregiver, doctor or family can access this information.

Seniors are a target market for the pills designed by Proteus Digital Health, notes chief executive Andrew Thompson.  Because older patients take multiple medications, these technologically advanced pills can help seniors stay organized and on schedule and avoid serious health consequences.

Digital medicine is the up and coming technology that will help caregivers juggle all their other tasks at hand.  With this help, no confusion will face the caregiver whether or not their senior has taken their medication.  For those that may be concerned about a digitalized pill, there are other options that help caregivers and seniors with notifications via bottle.

Medicine bottles that glow different colors have been created by AdhereTech Inc. When it’s time to take a dose, the bottle glows blue. When the user has missed a dose, the bottle glows red.  The company’s server can also remind the consumer via text.

Medication past the expiration date can be clearly indicated by bottles generated by the product-design firm IDEO.  When the pills are expired, the bottle starts to spot like an overripe banana.  This idea is still in the concept stage, but will surely help people know their medication is no longer safe to take.

Nursing homes can also take notice to all these developments in medicine. With aid by technology, nursing homes and assisted living staff members can easily keep track of who took their medication and whose medication has expired.  For those who are seeking assistance in nursing homes, Caregiverlist.com has a database of over 18,000 nursing homes with options to filter by Caregiverlist’s Star Rating system. Finding the right nursing home for your loved one can be made efficiently and very quickly.

 

-Kristin Kruk

 

Caregiver Background Checks: Laws Vary in Each State - Minnesota "Bans the Box"

Caregiver background checks are the first step in the caregiver hiring process.  But there is much confusion about the types of background checks and the information that is actually included.  The federal government passed legislation to guide employers on background checks as it is important to give criminals a second chance. The legislatures decided 7 years is the amount of time that should pass to have a clean slate and this requirement is part of a law called the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).

States, however, can pass their own laws governing background checks for employment.  These state background check laws will trump the federal law (over-ride it).  Some states allow looking back for more than 7 years if an employee will be working with a senior or a child.

Senior caregiver employers must follow the state background check requirements in their state and caregiver job applicants should also be aware of these requirements which you can find in Caregiverlist's Background Check Laws "By-State" section.  Caregivers may also want to purchase their own background check prior to applying to a professional senior care job to verify all of the information.  As a digital life is a reality now, identity theft and fraud have grown at a high rate and it is important to learn to check your information at least annually to be sure there is no inappropriate information attached to your name.  You should also be sure to only purchase a quality caregiver background check.

Minnesota senior caregiver employers now must follow a new law which Governor Mark Dayton just signed into law, nicknamed "Ban the Box".  This law prohibits employers from inquiring about a job applicant's criminal history or conducting a background check until the applicant has been granted an interview or job offer.  This new Minnesota law also requires removing the question of criminal convictions or arrests on initial job applications.  However, senior caregiver employers can still inform applicants that a criminal history could be a disqualifying factor for a particular job.

Minnesota first passed the "ban the box" law in 2009, applying only to public employers (state and local governments).  Minnesota Senate File 523 expands the law to include private employers and takes effect January 1, 2014.

Employers exempt from the law are those serving vulnerable populations and those employers who are not permitted to hire people with a criminal history.  The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is responsible for enforcing the law and employers will be assessed up to $500 per violation.

Caregivers for senior home care agencies, assisted living communities and nursing homes receive all benefits for employees, as required by law, including unemployment insurance, worker's compensation insurance and healthcare benefits. In order to offer these benefits, companies must hire caregivers who are legal to work and who pass criminal background checks.  Purchase a caregiver background check and apply to a senior caregiver job in your area.  You may also learn about caregiver job descriptions and requirements as more people are needed in the senior care field as the number of seniors in America continues to increase rapidly. 

Eli Lilly and Co. Study Results: 1 in 5 Patients Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease Don't Have It

National Dementia Week this week sparks conversation about memory loss and the impact this is having on America's seniors.  The longer you live, the greater your chances for developing some form of memory loss.  The two go together.  But now a new survey by Eli Lilly and Company, released today, shows that not everyone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease actually has this form of memory loss.

Eli Lilly did the survey as a way to help promote their imaging agent, called Amyvid, and to receive Medicare approval for reimbursement of this new product.  Amyvid received U.S. market approval last year and would assist in identifying the deposits of a protein called amyloid which is one of two telltale signs of Alzheimer's disease.  The imaging test is called PET, or positron emission tomography.

Performing an autopsy has been the only way to 100% for sure identify these plaques.  The thinking is that by properly diagnosing all Alzheimer's patients, Medicare may actually save money by properly treating everyone for the right type of memory loss.  Estimates are that 7.1 million people will have Alzheimer's disease by 2025.

Someday, there could also be the possibility for everyone to be tested for Alzheimer's disease at a certain age.  The Harvard School of Public Health found that two-thirds of adults would take a predictive Alzheimer's test.

With Angelina Jolie's New York Time's editorial last week, about her decision to proactively choose to have a double mastectomy because of testing positive for the BRCA1 mutation, being able to identify Alzheimer's disease accurately could lead to more preventive treatments.

Senior caregivers working with senior's with memory loss must have special training to understand all of the dynamics of the disease.  One of the biggest challenges of Alzheimer's disease is that it progresses at a different rate in each person.  However, because of the growth in the number of individuals living longer with memory loss, the demand for caregivers continues as senior care companies hire part-time and full-time caregivers each day.  Apply for a senior caregiving job near you or refer-a-friend and be entered to win prizes weekly on Caregiverlist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo is a beautiful and serene sunset. We'd like to thank you for caring for our seniors. Remember more caregivers are needed, please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools. 

 

Caregiverlist Stress Relief Photo Sunset

"A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it."

Alistair Cook

24-Hour Home Care's Jessica Parel wins CAHSAH Nursing Scholarship

Congratulations to senior caregiver Jessica Parel, the 2013 CAHSAH (California Association for Health Services at Home) Joan Baier Garland Home Care Nursing Scholarship Winner!

Jessica shared with CAHSAH conference attendees that she at first had diffculty finding her path in life.  However, she then experienced the loss of both of her grandparents who passed away while in hospice care.  This gave her the inspiration to become a senior caregiver and then to begin studies to pursue a degree as a registered nurse.

"I believe I need my clients more than they need me," says Ms. Parel.  Her experience as a senior caregiver has fueled her passion and drive, she says.

Caring for seniors definitely delivers value beyond a paycheck, as senior caregivers enjoy the wisdom seniors are able to share from a lifetime of experiences.

As the senior care industry continues to expand, in order to meet the care needs of our growing senior population (10,000 seniors turn age 65 each day), senior care companies hire new caregivers each week.

Become a professional senior caregiver by taking an online caregiver training course and apply for a part-time or full-time senior caregiving job near your home on Caregiverlist.com.  You may also want to pursue advanced training, just as Jessica Parel is doing, to continue to grow your career in the senior healthcare industry.  Many senior care companies will assist with tuition reimbursement for becoming a certified nursing aide, or you may have an opportunity to win a scholarship, just as Jessica Parel did at this year's California home care conference.

Congratulations and gratitude to Jessica for advancing the benefits that come with working as a professional senior caregiver.

 

 

Dementia Week 2013: Be Aware of Signs and Symptoms and How to Seek Care

National Dementia Week, from May 19th through May 25th, highlights senior care needs for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia.  There are many ways of getting involved and being aware such as knowing the signs and symptoms of dementia and knowing how to find care for your family member or friend in need.

Dementia occurs when the brain slowly loses its ability to process thoughts and is a decline in the cognitive function.  There are many diseases that cause dementia-- Alzheimer’s being the most well-known.  Other diseases that cause dementia include Lewy body disease, fronto-temporal dementia, vascular dementia, and many more.

The neurological symptoms associated with dementia can unfortunately affect our loved ones. What can you do when dementia affects your mother, father, aunt or grandfather?  One should be aware of the signs and symptoms.  Your family member or friend may experience memory loss, moodiness and/or communication difficulties.  As the dementia progresses, all of these symptoms may lead to a serious struggle for your family member or friend to get through the day on their own. 

What can you do when your loved one can no longer take care of themselves? 

Are you able to take care of them yourself? Or, will you need outside and additional help?

Caregiverlist  provides information on quality senior care companies and the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide.  Anyone seeking senior care options may submit a request to “find senior care” to be connected with quality companies in their area.  You can specify type of care—such as home care, assisted living, nursing home, etc.— and additional information such as the monthly budget and unique needs.

Anyone who may have gained experience as a caregiver while caring for a loved one with memory loss, may consider becoming a professional senior caregiver and submit a job application to be connected with hiring companies in their area.   

This Dementia Awareness Week, take some time to get acquainted with dementia and what Caregiverlist can do to help out your family or friend! 

-Kristin Kruk

Log in