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Freedom of Choice: Why it Matters for Seniors Choosing Home Care

When your senior loved one is preparing to leave the hospital, a discharge planner will meet with you, your senior loved one, other family members if desired, and perhaps the physician or attending nurse. The role of the discharge planner is to ensure a smooth transition from the hospital to the next step in care. During the discharge meeting, patients should be offered multiple choices for ongoing care including hospices, home health agencies, and hourly or live-in home care providers in Albuquerque, so they’re able to make the decision they feel is best based on their needs. Some discharge planners in Albuquerque, however, feel as though it’s too difficult to manage multiple home care providers and so they revoke a patient’s Freedom of Choice by only offering one post-hospital option.

Why Freedom of Choice is Important for Seniors

Every senior has his or her own unique set of long-term care requirements after a hospital stay. Providing only one option means your senior loved one’s needs might not be met, and the care he or she receives could potentially be subpar if the care provider isn’t as experienced in, say, stroke recovery as a provider who has been left off the list. Having multiple options is crucial so seniors can find a care provider they feel comfortable with, who can provide quality care, and promote a healthy and safe lifestyle after a hospital stay.

Failing to Provide Freedom of Choice is Illegal

By law, discharge planners must uphold a patient’s right to Freedom of Choice. Hospitals, skilled nursing homes and rehab centers with any financial interest in an offered provider must disclose that information on the list as well. It’s a common complainant among home care providers who are not affiliated in any way with a hospital or rehab facility that patients’ freedom of choice is violated. Discharge planners are required to present all options available to patients, including home care providers, as a patient cannot make an educated choice without all the information. Discharge planners also have an ethical obligation to present all options with neutrality, meaning they cannot prejudice options given to the patient or attempt to dissuade the patient from a specific choice.

Ongoing care isn’t one-size-fits-all and treating it as such can lead to potentially damaging outcomes. As a healthcare professional, senior health, wellness, and happiness should be a leading concern for discharge planners, but limiting the choices provided makes the convenience of the discharge planner the number one priority. If you care for a senior loved one who will soon be discharged from an Albuquerque hospital, do your own research and let the discharge planner know in advance you will be expecting more than one option.

For more information, visit www.homecareassistanceofalbuquerque.com or call a friendly and experienced Care Manager at (505) 798-0800. We’re here to help 24/7.