Available for Interviews: Martha Jo Patterson
Martha Jo Patterson is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and is passionate about helping the elderly, disabled, as well as families who have special challenges both in taking care of their loved ones and managing legal matters.
being able to visit a loved one in a nursing home facility:
With COVID-19 dominating almost all walks of life, an answer to this question is a difficult one for obvious reasons.
- The balancing act of protecting your vulnerable elderly parent from a virus, which has hit Nursing Homes hard and making sure that their residents have their need for visitors met is not easy.
- Nursing Homes and Assisted Living residencies are in the last group of places that will be allowed to open. In the meantime, those with loved ones in facilities may need to assert the right to visit: “The Legislature finds and declares that every adult in this state has the right to visit with, and receive mail and telephone or electronic communication from, whomever he or she so chooses, unless a court has specifically ordered otherwise.”
- If communication is not occurring via phone or technology (e.g. video visits) you may need to be assertive. Of course, we have to realize the staff is often overwhelmed, and may have difficulty finding time to help your loved one get to the phone or to help them set up some technology, so we must be kind and patient. However, not having visitors does lead to depression and can cause your loved one to severely deteriorate.
- Perhaps you can obtain full personal protective equipment, and allow your temperature to be taken, and then request to visit.
- Maybe, you can privately pay a physician or nurse to go in to check out your loved one.
- If your concerns are great enough and you have taken all the precautions staff does and you are still not allowed to visit, you might invest in an attorney who can go to court to assert your right to visit. Drastic measures in the right circumstances might be necessary, especially if the restrictions continue for several more months.
- If your loved one is able to answer their phone and you are able to chat via some video service, be grateful, and hopefully, you will be able to visit in-person soon. If your loved one is unable to use the phone or video, or staff is not bringing video to their room for you to see them and communicate with them in any way, you may want to consider what steps you can take to have the peace of mind that your loved one is okay.
Interview: Martha Jo Patterson
Martha Jo Patterson, is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and specializes in estate planning, trust and probate law, wills, trusts, probate, long term care, Medi-Cal, asset protection, and veteran’s benefits. Patterson is a member of NAELA and past president of Southern California NAELA, and is the author of The Nursing Home Dilemma: A Consumer’s Guide to Protecting Your Loved Ones While Preserving Your Assets.
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