Many residents remain completely unfamiliar with most aspects of New York elder care until the need for skilled long-term treatment is thrust upon them by a loved one’s sudden health decline. For one thing, the high costs of the service catch most community members completely off-guard. Coming up with over $10,000 a month (or more) for this care is simply impossible for most areas families that have not planned ahead of time. On top of that, our New York elder law attorneys know that many are also surprised by the challenge of simply finding a suitable facility in the first place, regardless of the costs.
One peculiar aspect of the process, for example, is that men have a harder time finding a bed in nursing homes than women do. The situation was discussed last week in a post at the New York Times’ “The New Old Age” blog.
It was explained that the problem has to do with nursing home demographics. A 2010 CMS Report noted what most intuitively suspect: two-thirds of all nursing home residents are female. In some specific areas, the rate of female use of these facilities is much higher. As our New York Medicaid lawyers often explain to clients, Medicaid–which pays for most nursing home care–only covers “semiprivate” rooms. These rooms usually house at least two residents with privacy provided, as in a hospital, by a curtain. Only residents of the same gender can live in each room.
That is where the demographic problem comes in.
Men who are seeking to enter these facilities cannot be put into a room where a woman already resides–even if there are open beds. Therefore, the man is forced to wait until there is a bed available in a room with another man. Considering the skewed demographics, there are a lot fewer male rooms, and the wait can last longer than many expect.
The financial demands on these skilled long term care facilities also play a role. For example, when residents leave a facility, there are often ways to make bed changes so that a room opens up to serve as a male room. However, many facilities are reluctant to do that, because the chance of a bed going unused in a male room is higher than in a female room. If the facility accepts a man and then three woman immediately call and want to move-in, they may have to turn those three down because they used an open room for the man instead of making it another female room. Most long-term care facilities are understandably loathe to not lose money on unused space, and so decisions about room assignments are often affected by the financial motives.
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