On the Healthcare Front
Issue #21: November 2023
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when should you call kepro?
- If you are not ready to be discharged from the hospital.
- If your Medicare skilled services are ending too soon. Examples of skilled services include things like physical therapy and nursing services.
- If you have a concern about the quality of care you received.
- If you have a concern about your medical care that needs to be taken care of right away.
Click on the link below for the phone number for your state. These services are free for people who have Medicare.
november is family caregivers month
November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize and honor family caregivers.
Take a look at our Family Caregivers Month page for more information.
reminder about medicare open enrollment
Each year, the Medicare Open Enrollment Period takes place from October 15 to December 7.
This is an important time for people who have Medicare because it gives you the chance to review and make changes to your current Medicare coverage.
In case you missed it, check out the October issue of On The Healthcare Front. It includes a great deal of information and resources you can use during the Medicare Open Enrollment period.
it's flu season
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.
Some people, such as people 65 years and older, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications.
Visit our flu web page for information about this flu season.
We hope you have been enjoying On the Healthcare Front, the newsletter published each month for people who have Medicare.
You can read past issues right here on Kepro's website: Read past issues.
We want to be sure that the newsletter is meeting your needs.
If there is something in particular that you want to read about, please email us at QIOCommunications@kepro.com and let us know.
kepro's immediate advocacy services - a helpful resource when there was confusion about the care provided by a home health agency
Immediate Advocacy is a free service for people with Medicare. It is used to help people quickly resolve problems about medical care or services. Immediate Advocacy often involves Kepro calling a healthcare provider or facility on behalf of the patient.
Edward was being discharged from the hospital. He was looking forward to getting back home. Before going home, he had a meeting with the discharge planner, to be sure all needed services were in place and that he had an understanding of his plan of care and his role within that plan.
Once he was home, Edward called the home health agency. Information about the home health agency was included in the discharge plan (Edward left the hospital with the discharge plan in-hand). At first, everything was going well with the home health agency. On the first visit, the nurse went over the process as he changed the dressing and examined the wound. He wanted to be sure Edward had all the information he needed, so he would be able to continue his recovery without any complications.
Edward’s niece Abbey stopped by to visit and see how he was doing. She visited often to check in because Edward lived alone. On one particular visit, Abbey could tell that something was wrong, and Edward wasn’t getting the proper care for his wound – redness and inflammation started spreading from the site of the wound, and his bandages appeared wet.
When it came to the discussion of home health care, Edward thought that he understood his role in his care. While they were willing to help, it was their understanding that the home health nurse would provide dressing changes. Since the home health nurse visited every few days, daily changes were missed.
This is an example of a situation that was helped with Kepro’s free Immediate Advocacy services.
Edward and his niece called Kepro together and spoke with the nurse to explain everything that was happening. The Kepro nurse said that she would call the home health agency to get more details. Kepro learned that the home health nurse explained the process to the patient (Edward) and showed him how to change the dressing.
The Kepro nurse called Edward and talked with him about what the home health agency said. The Kepro nurse and Edward arranged a time to talk when his niece would be able to talk as well. Edward said he must have forgotten that he needed to change his dressing on the days that he didn’t get a visit from the nurse. At the next nursing visit, Abbey was there, so she could talk with the nurse and ask him to remind Edward when he needed to change his dressing. She asked him to write down some brief instructions, to help Edward to remember what to do.
Kepro’s Immediate Advocacy services helped Edward to get the needed clarification. Now he would be able to successfully continue with his recovery at home.
If you live alone and are getting nursing visits, you may want to have a friend or family member be there during the first one or two visits. That way, the other person can help you remember things that you may have forgotten.
Learn more about this free service from Kepro: Immediate Advocacy Services
Discharge planning: Hospital Discharge Planning: A Guide for Families and Caregivers
Choosing a home health agency: Find and Compare Home Health Providers Near You
Doctor’s visits (this can also apply to visits from home health staff): Get the Most From Your Doctor's Visit
One thing caregivers don’t often do well is take care of themselves. They are busy taking care of others and don’t pay too much attention to themselves and what they need. This isn’t good.
Because how can you take care of someone else if you don’t take good care of yourself?
Caregivers – especially full-time caregivers – need to take care of themselves.
What exactly does this mean?
The Family Caregiver Alliance has information about self-care that can help you understand the steps you may want to take to keep yourself healthy in your role as a caregiver: Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers
Harvard Medical School has a page on their blog that talks about 5 ways to care for yourself if you are a caregiver.
Respite care means taking a break from caring for someone while the person you care for is looked after by someone else. It lets you take a break to take care of yourself and helps stop you from becoming exhausted and run down.
Depending on what you need, respite care can be arranged for just an afternoon or for several days or weeks. Care can be provided at home, in a healthcare facility, or at an adult day center.
The National Institute on Aging has information that explains what respite care is, how to find services, and how to pay for it. Medicare covers respite care in certain situations: www.medicare.gov/coverage/hospice-care. If you have questions about what Medicare covers, you can visit www.medicare.gov or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
If you are not eligible for Medicare-covered respite care, you may want to consider other options, such as the following:
- An Area Agency on Aging (AAA) may be able to connect you with services in your area.
- You can contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for assistance and counseling.
Publication No. RI46810-320-11/2023. This material was prepared by Kepro, a Medicare Quality Improvement Organization under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.