We all know how hard the greater New York metropolitan area has been affected by COVID 19.   Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been grappling with its spread among residents and staff.  They have closed their doors to visitors and instituted other measures that have the affect of isolating residents from each other and from the outside world.  It is not unusual for family members to consider bringing their loved ones home, especially if they are home to provide or monitor care.  However, moving a loved one home from a facility requires careful consideration.


Individuals in facilities are often fragile.  A change in an environment can negatively impact one who suffers with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  One whose capacity is diminished may have a difficult time adjusting to the new environment – even when that may be a place with which they were formerly very familiar.  Suddenly, when they awake, they are in “different” surroundings, new people, and not the ones they are used to seeing and hearing, are administering to them.  They may become anxious or disoriented and, if the plan is to readmit them once the pandemic is under control, the process is repeated when they later return to the facility.


If you bring a loved one home, who will care for them?  The pandemic has caused a reduction in the availability of home health aides.  Those who currently have home care are experiencing difficulties both finding and maintaining aides.  Naturally, you will have concerns about the health of individuals who are coming into your home.  Where do these aides live and with whom?  Who have they been exposed to?  Who else do they work for when they are not with us?  What if they become ill?  And, it must be remembered that, each time we change the caretaker, our loved one has a new adjustment to make.


If your loved one is receiving Medicaid benefits, you must consider the continuity of those benefits when deciding to make a move.  Medicaid requires notice and a conversion of benefits if one moves home from a nursing home, even if that move is only temporary.  Moreover, the facility in which your loved one resided will not “hold” the bed without cost and, when the process is reversed, there may not be a place in the desired facility.


These considerations are all important and should be carefully analyzed before making a move.  Under the right circumstances, with the proper protections in place and the availability of family members to oversee and supplement care, a move home may be beneficial, whether it is temporary or permanent.  It all depends on the options and available space to house your loved one.  If you are considering moving a loved one from a facility, contact our Medicaid planning attorneys at Berwitz & DiTata so we can discuss the safest and most appropriate option for your loved one.