Always remember you have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. You are the most important expert about yourself. Any professional should encourage you to tell them what your problems are and what it is you think you need from them.
The mental health care system can be a maze. First, identifying the problem and then finding the right help. We are here to assist you in getting the help you need.
But my doctor is too busy to answer questions.
Doctors are busy in this era of managed care, but it is important that you ask your doctor to sit down with you for a few minutes, so you can understand what you are taking.
The cost of treatment to an individual for a mental health problem depends on such factors as type of treatment, therapist's training, treatment location and insurance coverage. Most older adults have Medicare. Many may also have insurance plans, sometimes called Medigap policies, that cover a majority of the expense. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover most costs of long-term care for older adults who have Alzheimer's or similar diseases and require nursing facilities. It also only covers 50 percent of outpatient mental health costs.
Mental Health Services in Nursing Homes
Finding the residential facility that fits your needs or your loved one is a difficult task. A lot of emphasis is placed on how the facility provides for the physical needs of its residents. However, another very important but overlooked question is how does it care for mental or behavioral needs? Studies say that 18-25 percent of older adults in the community have mental health needs. In nursing care and personal care facilities the number increases. Some studies show that 50 percent of older adults in nursing homes suffer with depression.
This information will help you understand your basic rights and responsibilities within the community mental health system, and what you can do if you have a complaint.
Every agency that is part of the community mental health system has its own policies and procedures regarding fair treatment of consumers and how to deal with their concerns or complaints. You have a right to receive and should be given the agency's specific information, an opportunity to discuss any problems with a staff person and you are entitled to a response. If you are not satisfied with the agency's response, you have a right to file a complaint.