Leaving the Nursing Home and Want a Home Risk Assessment?Posted by Medicare Made Clear
Home safety is important to all of us. But it’s especially important to vulnerable people like those who will be discharged from a nursing home or other inpatient rehabilitation facility.
Is it safe yet to go home? If you’re being discharged from an inpatient facility, there’s a good chance you may still be a bit wobbly and face a higher risk of falling. You’ll also need to know if your home will be suitable for you. For example, are the doorways wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through or will you be able to get in and out of the bathtub safely? These are the types of things you need to know before you get home. You may want to consider a home risk assessment to make your return as safe as possible.
What is a Home Risk Assessment?
A medical, nursing or rehabilitation specialist will evaluate your home to make sure it is safe. The evaluator may recommend modifications to the home that may help make living in your home easier and safer. Types of modifications commonly made include:
- installing grab bars in the bathrooms and doorways
- installing elevated toilet seats, shower seats and handheld shower wands
- installing handrails next to stairs
- removing or securing floor rugs
- widening doors or adding wheelchair ramps
The assessment may also include an occupational therapy consultation. This can help identify and eliminate many potential pitfalls that may affect your activities of daily living. The healthcare professional can also evaluate the caregiver’s needs for training, support, and education.
The Nursing Home
If you’re thinking of leaving the nursing home, you have the right to find out if you can return to the community and get the services and support you may need. This is a benefit paid for by Medicare Part A.1
After you discuss your plans with the nursing home staff, these are the steps normally taken to find out if you are able to return to the community:2
- The nursing home staff will call a local agency for community living (Local Contact Agency).
- The Local Contact Agency will call or visit you to learn what services and support you need. Then, they’ll look into:
- your housing options and/or home modification services
- available services (like help with your medical and personal care)
- programs that may help pay for these services (like Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance)
If the services and support you need are available, you decide whether or not to start the plan to leave the nursing home. You can change your mind at any time.
Other Inpatient Rehab Facilities
According to MedicareResourceCenter.org, your doctor can prescribe a home risk assessment by a physical or occupational therapist before you return home from inpatient treatment.3 If you are living independently and are at risk of falling in the home, talk to your doctor about getting a fall risk assessment. In many cases, Medicare will cover the cost of a medical, nursing or rehabilitation specialist to determine your risk of falling and make recommendations to keep the home safe.4
For more information, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to get free personalized health insurance counseling. To get the phone number for your state, visit Medicare.gov/contacts, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Home Care, Basic Facts & Information: HealthInAging.org
In-home care frequently asked questions: MedicareResourceCenter.org
Leaving a Nursing Home & Returning to the Community: Medicare.gov
1, 2 Leaving a Nursing Home & Returning to the Community: Medicare.gov, December 31, 2014
3 How Much In-home Care will Medicare Cover?: By Meg Fullwood, HealthInsurance.org and MedicareResourceCenter.org, December 31, 2014
4 Is it True Medicare will Pay for a Fall Risk Assessment?: MedicareResourceCenter.org, December 31, 2014