Senior healthcare coordination and management can be an overwhelming task due to a variety of factors. In some cases, your loved one’s health needs have reached a crisis point requiring many decisions to be made simultaneously. If you live in another city than where your loved one resides, it’s impossible to check on them regularly. In certain cases, seniors can be resistant to receiving care even though their physical condition necessitates specialized treatment and services. In other situations, disagreement between family members can also be a major factor affecting consensus and efficient decision making.
Enlisting the professional services of a Geriatric Care Manager may be the perfect solution to assist you and your loved one. Geriatric Care Managers are usually social workers, nurses, gerontologists, psychologists or other professionals possessing specialized training and expertise in all aspects of senior care. A GCM is experienced in assessing needs, handling crises that may require emergency hospitalization, helping to place a seniors in a long-term care facility, solving family disagreements, locating local community resources and even assisting family caregivers by attending doctor appointments and assisting with other daily care issues.
According to Caring.com, an excellent resource for professional caregivers and families, the primary responsibilities of a GCM can include:
Assessment. When you first hire a geriatric care manager, they will meet with you and your loved one to evaluate the current situation. They’ll assess your loved one’s physical environment and mental, social, and emotional functioning and independence. Based on this assessment and conversations with family members, the GCM will identify your loved one’s care needs.
Plan of care. Once the assessment is complete, the GCM will make recommendations about the types of care your loved one needs. They’ll note recommendations in a written plan of care. As care progresses or as care needs change, the care manager will note progress in the plan of care and make updates as needed.
Coordination of services. A geriatric care manager can be as actively involved in the care of your loved one as you need him to be; be sure to clarify expectations at the outset. Most GCMs know all the senior care providers in your area and are well prepared to help you find the best match for your loved one. You can expect them to help you find agencies to provide in-home care, hospice, or skilled nursing care, as well as to coordinate the comings and goings of the caregivers. If your loved one needs residential care, the GCM will help you find the best assisted living or nursing home that meets your loved one’s needs and fits within your budget. Some GCMs will also help with day-to-day care for your loved one — picking up prescriptions, taking your loved one to doctor appointments, or visiting for regular check-ins.
Family support. GCMs also provide invaluable support to family members as they cope with a loved one’s decline or illness. They can help smooth communication and mediate disagreements.
Ideas, products, and innovations. GCMs are always on the lookout for new types of services and tools to make caregiving easier and to help keep your loved one safe. Many will be able to tell you about new technologies, tools, or aids that help your loved one maintain independence and mobility for as long as possible.
Private geriatric care mangers charge by the hour for their services, which can range from $75 to $250 per hour. The cost for such is on a private pay service, as Medicare, Medigap, Medicaid, managed care and long-term care insurance do not cover it. Another alternative is consulting with local government agencies and charitable groups who offer this type of consulting for free or on a sliding scale according to income level. Caring.com features a handy search engine where one can locate local GCMs by zip code at www.caring.com/local/geriatric-care-managers.
If you or other responsible family members reside in the same city as your loved one and have the time to coordinate with a professional , contracting with a Geriatric Care Manager on an a la carte consulting basis to help organize and assess the degree of care and tasks to expect would be a cost effective avenue to pursue if your loved one’s budget for out of pocket medical care expenses is somewhat limited. The Worksheets and Checklists (<LINK) section here at Senior Care Network can prove to be quite useful in order to help you more fully understand the scope of issues that will need to be addressed regarding your loved one’s present and future healthcare management needs.
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