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An Example of How Your Role as the Geriatric Social Worker Impacts Clients in Our Elder Care Law Group [VIDEO]

In this video, our geriatric social worker, Lori Kayne, addresses how her role as the geriatric social worker with the Norris McLaughlin elder care law team has impacted clients by giving us a real-world example.

Hi, I’m Lori Kane. I am the Geriatric Social Worker in the Elder Care and Special Needs Group.

Give us an example of how your role as a social worker impacts clients in our elder law group.

I’ll talk to you about a family that I’m going to call the “Jones” family. As with many of our families, the initial call to our firm came from the client’s son who was concerned that his mother had many health issues and that his father was not really able to manage them. They also had legal documents, but they were very old, and he was not sure that they still met their needs.

As part of the process, my first step was to go out to the family’s home and to do a home assessment. When I got to the home, I realized that immediately there was going to be some issues because the wife had a lot of trouble walking and there were very steep stairs in the home. There was also no bathroom on the first floor, so she was captive on the second floor. I also noticed when I got there, that she seemed very confused and very, very out of it which was not her normal state of mind. And after much discussion, I recommended that they call 911.

She did end up in the hospital. She was treated for a urinary tract infection and was transferred to a sub-acute facility for rehabilitation. She made some progress in the facility, but the doctor recommended that she consider staying long-term in the facility. As with most of our clients, she really did not want to do that.

She really wanted to go home, so the family agreed that we would try to do everything we can to support her at home. We got a stairlift. We got her some help at home. We got her a hospital bed, and this did improve the situation for a period of time. However, she continued to decline and became more confused, and the husband really could no longer handle her care needs, and they were both agreeable that they would make a change and move into a facility.

It was a bit of a challenging situation, because the husband was very independent and really needed an independent situation, and she really was dependent and needed a nursing home. But, we were able to find them a facility that had both levels of care, so he could move into independent living and she moved into the nursing home. They made a very good transition. He was happy, probably happier than he had been in many years because he could spend quality time with his wife but also have a life of his own and not be responsible for all of her care. We also had to work very closely to do financial planning, because it was likely that she would meet the criteria for Medicaid much sooner than he would, and he needed to have sufficient assets so he could continue to have a quality of life.

©2020 Norris McLaughlin P.A., All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 69



About this Author

Shana Siegel Elder Law Attorney at Norris McLaughlin in New Jersey

Shana Siegel concentrates her practice in the area of elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy.

As one of the few Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) in northern New Jersey to be certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), Shana has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship...

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