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Increased Cost and Inconsistency of Care in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the entire world in a multitude of ways. One of the major impacts I have seen with my clients directly relates to the accessibility of long-term care. Specifically, as with most industries, shortage in staffing and inflation has not only caused long-term costs to rise significantly but also an inconsistency in care.

Most clients would like to stay in their home for as long as possible – this certainly has intensified since the pandemic. Many clients fear coming into contact with the virus while in a facility, and further fear the isolation associated with facility shutdowns. Staffing in facilities has always been an issue, but it has come to light even more since the pandemic as families report that they fear how further reduced staffing issues have impacted quality of care, particularly during a shutdown when families, who would have been available for companionship and other basic needs, are not available to assist. Add in the fact that many nursing homes engage in deceitful (and sometimes downright unlawful) discharge practices to avoid having long-term patients and thus having Medicaid as a pay source for budgeting purposes.

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In light of these issues, there has been a rise in families turning to in-home care. Prior to the pandemic, families reported cost of care at roughly $20 an hour. Today, families report cost of care at roughly $30 an hour. This is a significant increase, which has undoubtedly surpassed the anticipated rate of inflation for long-term care costs. In addition to problems in affordability, there are staffing issues associated with unavailability of attendants due to illness and increased demand. In light of this, families have turned to private attendants, not recognizing that these attendants, by IRS regulation, are household employees and not independent contractors. As a result, there are additional expenses associated with maintaining a payroll.

We often see families in crisis situations, but with the exponential increase in the cost of care, and inconsistencies related to shortages, planning for long-term care has become even more relevant. Many families wait too long to assess care options and how they fit into their overall plan for retirement, and specifically what benefits may be available and under what conditions. Our team can advise with regard to funding of long-term care and develop plans to start preparing for benefits.


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Hook Law Center: Hampton Roads saw quite a bit of rain yesterday. How does rain affect dogs?

Neo: There’s quite a few ways in which dogs experience rain differently than humans do. For instance, our hearing is much more acute than humans, so the rumbling sound of rain on the roof can cause anxiety in some dogs. Moisture in the air makes scents stronger, our coats can be affected by static electricity, etc. Read more here!

Posted in Senior Law News