Health Care Power Of Attorney

A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document in which you designate a Health Care Agent and give that Health Care Agent the ability to make medical decisions for you if you cannot make these decisions yourself. The decisions made by your Health Care Agent are based on your own wishes as stated in your Health Care Power of Attorney.

The second part of a Health Care Power of Attorney is a Living Will. A Living Will outlines what type of medical care your would wish to receive in the event that you become terminally ill, sustain severe and irreversible brain damage, or are permanently unconscious. Directions in your Living Will may include your wishes regarding pain-relieving treatment, the withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures, and the use of tube feeding. While you set out your wishes and desires regarding end-of-life medical treatment, your Health Care Agent will still be able to communicate with medical professionals on your behalf about these decisions.

If you do not have name a Health Care Agent, Pennsylvania law appoints a Health Care Representative for you and this person is able to make medical decisions for you. However, the Health Care Representative named by the law might not be the person that you want making your health care decisions. The only way to avoid having a Health Care Representative is to name a Health Care Agent in a Health Care Power of Attorney. If you would like assistance in appointing a Health Care Agent, contact an Estate Planning Attorney at the Quinn Law Firm.

Pennsylvania Medical Assistance for Older Individuals

The idea of entering a nursing home can be overwhelming enough even without the added questions of "How will I pay for this?" and "Will the nursing home take my house?" There is no question that nursing home care in Pennsylvania is expensive. The average cost of nursing home care is $7,235.82 per month. However, one way you can help alleviate the financial strain of living in a nursing home is through a Medicaid program known in Pennsylvania as "Medical Assistance."

Medical Assistance covers the cost of nursing care, bed and board, therapy, medical social services, medications, and other medical services that you might need in a nursing home. In order to receive Medical Assistance benefits you must qualify both medically and financially.

You may be medically eligible if you require skilled care that is ordered by your physician. Needing skilled care means that you can no longer perform necessary functions for daily life. These include bathing, dressing, eating, mobility, and behavioral management. If you wish to receive care through a nursing home, it must be provided by a Medicare-qualified skilled nursing facility. These facilities primarily work with residents who require medical or nursing care and/or residents who need rehabilitation from injury, disability, or illness.

Financially, you are only permitted to own certain assets and still be financially eligible for Medical Assistance. These assets include a burial space, a prepaid funeral, a house, a car, a very small life insurance policy, household goods, and a small amount of cash. However, if you are married and only one of you is entering a nursing home, Medical Assistance provides special protections to the spouse who is not living in the nursing home in order to ensure that that spouse's quality of life is maintained.

If you believe that you or a loved one may enter a nursing home and who might need Medical Assistance at some point, please contact one of the Quinn Law Firm Elder Law Attorneys.