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Understanding Long Term Care Planning

Planning for long term care can be an important matter for Pittsburgh families to consider when reviewing finances for the New Year. By planning for long term care right now, it may be possible to put aside funds and study options to determine how to receive the best care rather than being overwhelmed at a time of crisis. Some experts estimate that at least 60 percent of all individuals will need some form of extended help over the course of their lives, so why not plan for it accordingly?

In order to plan accurately, it is first important to understand what type of care may be required. Long term care is distinguishable from short term care in that long term care refers to assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, toileting, eating or transferring, over a number of months or even years, whereas short term care may only be for a few weeks or months, when someone is recuperating from an illness or injury or rehabilitating after a hospital stay. In addition, ongoing care may be needed for a chronic medical condition, permanent disability or dementia.

It is also important to understand what type of care will be covered by various health insurance coverages, including Medicare, Medigap insurance and long term care insurance, as well as by Medicaid. In order to do that, it may be important to understand the distinction between custodial care and skilled care. Generally, skilled care services, care that can only be given by or under the supervision of a skilled medical professional, are covered by health care plans. Custodial services, which are received by the majority of individuals in long term care, are not covered.

Though the process of planning for long term care may seem complicated, planning now can be very beneficial for Pittsburgh residents in the future. An experienced elder law attorney may be able to guide individuals and their families through the process to help provide

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