Geriatric Care Managers Are The Family’s Extra Eyes, Ears, Hands and Heart
Geriatric Care Management is a discipline that includes:
- Assessing the care needs of the client.
- Planning for the provision of services that address those care needs.
- Supervising the delivery of those service and assessing their effectiveness.
Families with the wisdom and foresight to seek the assistance of a Geriatric Care Manager can reap the benefits of doing so for the rest of their seniors’ lives. Even in cases where crises arise in seniors’ lives without advance are Management planning in place, the help of a Geriatric Care Manager can help mitigate the crises and improve the possibilities for improved quality of life for those seniors.
What Are The Benefits Of Care Management?
Care management can:
- Maintain independence longer
- Improve quality of life
- Give peace of mind to long-distance caregivers
- Reduce caregiver stress and worry
- Improve safety
- Provide ongoing monitoring and
- Link clients to community resources
- Monitor client status and be available for problem-solving
- Provide family and caregiver education and coaching
How Do We Know If We Need A Care Manager?
You may benefit from Care Management if you answer “Yes” to any of the following questions:
- Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed trying to manage problems that are becoming bigger and more complicated than you can comfortably handle?
- Do you lack the time and skills to manage the challenge of complex care needs?
- Is it becoming more difficult to handle your own personal, work and family obligations while trying to manage care for a loved one?
- Is there disagreement within the family about what are the right care choices for your loved one?
- Is all of this complicated by living at a distance?
Who Are Care Managers?
A care manager is usually a social worker, nurse or gerontologist. They are a resource, guide and advocate for senior clients and their families.
Care Managers have the education, training and skills to understand the concerns of the elderly and their families, and how to take care of those concerns in the most optimal manner. They are “experts on the experts”, knowledgeable about the availability, quality and costs of community resources and senior services that are best suited to taking care of those concerns.
The care manager serves as:
- A liaison to family and service providers, keeping parties informed of the client’s status and changing needs.
- Eyes, ears, hands and feet for family members who need help handling the care of a loved one.
- A reassuring presence in the life of clients and families.
From A Very Practical Standpoint, How Can A Care Manager Help Us?
Care managers help with a wide variety of tasks that caregivers do not perform and family members are not trained to perform. A family might meet with a care manager once to consult about a loved one’s care and to problem solve, or they can arrange for ongoing oversight.
The normal, orderly Care Management process is made up of several stages:
- The Care Manager performs a comprehensive assessment of the client’s abilities and care needs.
- The Care Manager prepares a care plan tailored to the client’s needs.
- The Care Manager supervises the provision of services to carry out the provisions of the care plan.
- The Care Manager asssses the results of the services called for in the service plan and adjusts the care plan if needed.
- The Care Manager serves as an advocate for the Client in healthcare and other settins as needed.
- The Care Manager monitors the situation and provides feedback and updates to the family, healthcare providers, insurance companies and others as authorized by the senior and the family.
Often, Care Managers are called into crisis situations that don’t fit the normal, orderly process described above, and the Care Manager’s work is adjusted to be tailored to solving the crisis at hand.
Here are some of the valuable services that Care Managers provide:
- Scheduling and coordinating medical and dental appointments
- Transporting and accompanying clients to health care appointments
- Facilitating communication with health care professionals
- Helping clients comply with medications and recommendations
- Arranging supportive services such as:
- Money management and bill paying
- Meal delivery
- Overseeing caregivers and other providers
- Arranging for safety devices and medical equipment such as emergency response systems, grab bars, shower chairs and wheelchairs
- Making recommendations and referrals
- Evaluating the appropriateness of services being delivered
- Communicating care updates to family members and service providers
- Providing crisis intervention and supportive counseling
- Long-term planning for appropriate housing options