Home health care, finally
Peg is an active 75 year old widow who lives alone. She slipped while doing yard work and broke both her wrists trying to brace herself during the fall. She was admitted to the hospital for surgery. She had casts from her fingers to her elbows. She could not feed herself or even clean herself after going to the bathroom.
The social worker at the hospital told her she did not qualify for any assistance at home. She could go to a nursing home, but home health care was not available. Peg asked another social worker and was given the same answer. Peg did not want to go into a nursing home.
When Peg went home she hired a nursing assistant to help her during the day. She had to pay for this care herself. Her daughter, who lived 300 miles away, came to stay with her as well. Two days after discharge from the hospital, Peg and her daughter went for a follow-up visit to the doctor. They decided to ask again about Peg's eligibility for home health care. The doctor told her that she did qualify for services under Medicare, and arranged for a nurse to visit her that afternoon.
Peg qualified to have a nursing assistant daily and a nurse two times a week. She also had an occupational therapist work with her to increase her independence, and a physical therapist to make sure she did not have any further damage to her arms.
Unfortunately, not all hospital staff is aware of benefits provided under Medicare. Peg and her daughter did not give up asking for help, and their persistence paid off.