Nursing Homes and Alternatives: What New York Families Need to Know

Article excerpt

Nursing Homes and Alternatives: What New York Families Need to Know Edited by Jean Murphy and Amy Carroll Published by Friends and Relatives of Institutionalized Aged (FRIA) (www.fria.org), $30

This book is a smoothly written invaluable resource for both crisis management and basic eldercare planning. Its primary lesson is simple: Rich or poor, advocacy is an essential ingredient. Effective advocacy requires knowledge, and this book imparts that knowledge quickly and accurately.

The reader will soon realize that this book could have evolved only through firsthand experience with the system. Friends and Relatives of Institutionalized Aged (FRIA) has been through this drill thousands of times during its 28-year history. Each year its helpline assists thousands of New Yorkers navigating the long-term care quagmire. Every suggestion the book offers comes with howto lists, phone numbers, form numbers, and other relevant information that the reader will need to take immediate action.

The book is organized to help those in an emergency get where they need to go quickly. For those in a preparatory mode, it ushers them through a complete analysis of the relevant issues surrounding long-term care in New York State.

Chapter 1, "Staying Home: Home and Community-Based Health Care," and Chapter 2, "Adult Homes, Assisted Living and Other Options," give advice on home care, adult homes, assisted living, and other independent-living options before one requires a nursing home. They discuss different types of home-care services, how to arrange for them, and how to finance them. It also guides the reader on how to get home care through Medicaid. It also discusses adult homes (from resident rights through complaints), assisted living in New York State (an evolving and often-misunderstood option), the New York State Assisted Living Program, and other options and resources.

Chapter 3, "Hard Choices: When a Nursing Home Is Necessary," alerts the reader to the realities of nursing home admittance. It gives a chilling insider's look at the scoring systems that nursing homes use to decide whether to admit someone. It also describes the time-critical nature of the hospital discharge process. In most cases, the advocate needs to select a nursing home as soon as the relative or friend is admitted to the hospital. …