Making an Impact – Client Dies Peacefully in His Own Home
In the Making an Impact series, clients and services are featured to expand awareness of the wide array of help available at JFS and to ensure donors understand the lives they touch and the difference they make throughout the community. Client names have been changed to protect their confidentiality.
While “Charles” had several significant medical diagnoses, dementia was the primary concern. The JFS care coordinator (CC) communicated with him through his girlfriend “Kay,” who was also his paid personal care assistant (PCA).
His history contained many hospitalizations and indicated the need for a variety of medical equipment. During the initial assessment, Charles was able to answer questions, but there was a blank look in his eyes. The CC realized his dementia was advanced.
The first challenge was to reinstate his medical assistance which had fallen through the cracks and caused him to become ineligible for the program. Once he was re-enrolled, the CC went to work securing medical equipment. He needed a hospital bed. The wrong one was delivered. He could no longer get in and out of the house he shared with Kay. A wheelchair ramp was necessary but would require a financial waiver. His insurance provider determined that he was receiving too many hours each week for homemaking and didn’t qualify for Meals on Wheels. If those were eliminated, a ramp could fit into his assistance budget. Even though he was declining significantly, services had to be eliminated to pay for the wheelchair ramp.
The insurance provider also determined that a responsible party (RP) would need to be identified to monitor the work of the CC. Kay said she would try to determine who would fill that role. Both she and her daughter did not want that responsibility.
Soon after, Charles entered a hospice program. The CC visited him to complete a change of condition assessment and learned that an RP had still not been identified which would jeopardize his insurance coverage.
Kay was distraught. All her efforts to find an RP had failed. The CC simply couldn’t let this happen. She advocated with the insurance provider fiercely on Charles’ behalf. Ultimately, she was able to convince the provider to approve the assessment and its care and equipment recommendations.
When she called Kay to give her the good news, she started crying. She was stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Her car had broken down. If the assessment hadn’t been approved, Kay would have had to get a second job to pay for the additional care and equipment. That would have meant that Charles would be left alone for several hours each day or be placed in a nursing home. He had expressed very clearly that he did not want to go into a nursing home, and Kay was determined to do whatever she had to do to keep him home.
Six weeks after that call, Kay reached out to the CC to let her know that Charles had passed peacefully in his sleep in the comfort of his own home.