Q&A with Catheryn Koss
Senior Law Center issues guide to long-term care in Oklahoma
Q: The nonprofit Senior Law Resource Center recently published the “Oklahoma Legal Guide To Long-Term Care” by Catheryn Koss. I understand all proceeds of the book, which may be ordered on amazon.com, will benefit the center. What is long-term care?
A: Long-term care refers to a variety of services for people whose disabilities or illnesses prevent them from caring for themselves without help. These services may be medical, such as nursing care, or nonmedical, such as assistance with bathing or housekeeping.
Q: What types of issues are covered in the new book?
A: The guide addresses long-term care at home, in assisted living centers and in nursing homes. It covers how to pay for care, including how to qualify for Medicaid and Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. It also addresses residents' rights from the time of admission to the time a resident leaves a facility. Unlike many legal guides, this one specifically covers Oklahoma law and provides contact information for dozens of state programs and agencies.
Q: What are three things a senior or caregiver needs to know about long-term care?
A: The first big question people have is “How am I going to pay for care?” Seniors and caregivers should know that there are many ways to pay for care, including some excellent government benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, and VA Aid & Attendance. Other people may have or are considering buying long-term care insurance. The new guide walks readers through each of these options and explains how to qualify and what is covered. The second thing people need to know is how to get needed services. This includes how to choose a home-care provider or facility. It also may include how to advocate for the best possible quality of care. Finally, seniors and caregivers need to know what their rights are and how to assert them. For example, a nursing home only is allowed to evict a resident for a few reasons, such as failure to pay or if the resident is endangering himself or others. If a facility tries to evict a resident for some other reason, such as being perceived as “difficult,” a person who knows her rights can protect herself.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER