Last night, K and I spent the night in a nursing home. Weird, right? Many people have asked me about why we had to do this and although my understanding of that specific requirement is limited, I’m going to do my best to explain the reasons for our stay.
In Texas, there is a Medicaid waiver program called MDCP (Medically Dependent Children’s Program). For those of you who don’t know, a Medicaid waiver program is a program that allows “disabled” children and adults to have access to MUCH needed Medicaid even if their family income is above the cut-off because they go by the “disabled” person’s personal income, which for a 7 year old is $0. MDCP also provides respite care and some funds for home modifications and such…but for K, the access to Medicaid is really the main draw. We’ve been through SO much to keep her covered and even so, not everything she needs is accessible to her at this point. This is why MDCP is a very important program. However, MDCP has a 5+ year waiting list and 5+ years ago, K probably did not even qualify for services…she was a toddler with hearing loss, some developmental delays, and some limited but still-hazy medical issues. Things are different now for sure! Now we are in a place where she is extremely dependent on equipment, meds, highly specialized medical care, and so on, to thrive…and because of this, she needs to get in the program as soon as possible. Luckily, there is a loophole for people in this situation called Rider 28 or MFP, in which you get bumped to the front of the line, provided that you meet certain criteria, which K does. Unfortunately, as part of the requirements, the child has to spend either 30 consecutive days in a nursing home, or one overnight stay, depending on how “fragile” they are. K is “fragile” enough that we just had to stay for a night. YAY! I do not fully understand the reason for this requirement, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that this program is designed to keep these medically-complex kids OUT of nursing facilities and perhaps this technically counts as rescuing them from that situation.
Unfortunately, most of the nursing homes on the list we were given were between 1.5 and 5 hours away from our home and cost between $125 and $200 a night. A nursing home does not make for a super fun road trip, so I started calling around local nursing homes to see if any of them quietly participated in the program. After about a dozen calls, I found one! The facility (if any of you are in the same boat we were and need a recommendation, I will be happy to provide you with the name) was about 7 minutes from our home, the staff was friendly and helpful, and it cost us nothing because the facility could use it as a write-off. I have heard horror stories about these stays, but ours was not too bad. The room was large and clean, there was a flat screen TV and cable, there were no screaming patients in our hall, we had a private bathroom. There was the lingering scent of Eau De Elderly, of course, and there were many VERY loud TVs on our hall. Not too bad, though. K even slept for a few hours. Even so, we were ready to book it at midnight when we had served our time. K had a throbbing headache and we didn’t have her oxygen or meds on hand…not to mention, there was NO way I could sleep in the chair provided (it was like a high-back dining room chair). Plus, our boys missed us. N was having trouble sleeping because the house was too quiet, so Josh had to turn on K’s oxygen compressor for him so the house would sound normal. Funny how things like that become “normal” so easily! It sure was nice to come home! We are staying home today to recover from our little adventure. Yaaawn!
K is such a good sport about all of this and that makes it loads easier. On the way there last night, she said, “So, this is like initiation for a club I’m joining?” Yup, something like that kiddo!