Money got your attention? It has the attention of a lot of family members who foot the bills for loved ones in long term care. At Fraser Health Region’s Joint Venture Conference earlier this week I had an interesting conversation with a few people who could relate to the phone call I had taken a few days before from a customer who was paying for her mother’s HipSavers. This lady was frustrated about constantly being asked for $40 here and $100 there for things related to her mother’s care and, while she wasn’t angry with me, she had reached a point where just answering the phone felt like money flying out the window. Of course, she also felt bad complaining because she wanted the best for her mother. The whole situation reminded me of my children’s first few weeks at each new school year where every day brought a new request for payment for everything from student fees to gym clothes to calculators and on it went to the point where I often felt that I should just give the school my bank card with instructions to give it back when they were done. Others involved in this conversation sympathized and mentioned several expenditures that are usually over and above the monthly cost of facility room and board such as wheelchairs (which can get very pricey), visits to the hair salon and some medications. The concept of facilities putting together a document listing possible extraneous costs so that families have an idea of what might be expected or requested met with approval. It was noted that in these economic times, families need to be able to plan for expenditures and having a ‘heads up’ from their loved one’s facility would be most appreciated. If your facility has a co-op student or a volunteer, a great project for them would be the development of a document that would show possible expenditures with monthly ranges and/or averages and also showing possible annual and one time expenses that might be requested.

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