What is a Geriatric Care Manager?
A geriatric care manager is someone who can be hired for a fee to assess an older personís social and medical needs, arrange services and monitor care on an ongoing basis. An initial consultation typically runs $175, and hourly fees average $74, according to a recent AARP survey. A well-trained care manager can help individuals remain as independent as possible by assessing the alternatives, whether itís living at home with assistance or in other situations, such as supportive housing or assisted living facilities.
By: Leah Cohen, Geriatric Care Manager, LSW
A geriatric care manager has been educated in various fields of human services ó social work, psychology, nursing, gerontology ó and trained to assess, plan, coordinate, monitor and provide services for the elderly and their families. Advocacy for older adults is a primary function of the care manager. We belong to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and are certified by one of the three certification organizations for care management ó the National Association of Social Workers, the National Academy of Certified Care Managers, or the Commission for Case Managers.
Aging Life Care Professionals are experts in aging well. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
Assessment and monitoring
Planning and problem-solving
Education and advocacy
Family caregiver coaching
What is an Aging Life Care Professional?
An Aging Life Care Professional, also known as a geriatric care manager, is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. The Aging Life Care Professional is educated and experienced in any of several fields related to aging life care / care management, including, but not limited to nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.
Geriatric Care Management
Geriatric care management involves providing counsel and assistance
to elderly patients and their families. Care managers coordinate the
services of government agencies, insurance companies, and home
health care agencies, in accordance with the needs of each patient.
Managers also might help patients use available services while
staying in assisted living or nursing home facilities.
A bachelor's degree in a related subject is required, but not many of these programs provide specific training for geriatric care management. However, graduate certificate and master's degree programs in geriatric care management are available. Most professionals in this field require several years of experience prior to becoming managers.
Services from care managers should be something that every family takes advantage of, but in reality very few families use them. Care managers could go a long ways towards helping the family find better and more efficient ways of providing care for a loved one. The concept is simple. The family hires a professional adviser to act as a guide through the maze of long-term care services and providers. The care manager has been there many times. The family is experiencing it usually for the first time.
Hiring a care manager should be no different than hiring an attorney to help with legal problems or a CPA to help with tax problems.
Most people don't attempt to solve legal problems on
their own. And the use of professional tax advice can be an
invaluable investment. The same is true of using a care manager.
Unfortunately there are too few care managers and the public is so poorly informed about the services of a care manager that help that could be provided goes lacking.
The irony of not using a care manager is that most families, given the opportunity to use the care manager, think they can do it themselves and will not pay the money. Yet the services of a care manager will probably save them considerably more money then do-it-yourself. The cost of the care manager might be only a fraction of the savings the care manager could produce. Care manager services can also greatly reduce family and caregiver stress and help eliminate family disputes and disagreements.
Below is a partial list of services provided by an aging life care professional / geriatric care manager:
Assess the level and type of care needed and develop a care plan
Take steps to start the care plan and keep it functioning
Make sure care is received in a safe and disability friendly environment
Resolve family conflicts and other family issues relating to long term care
Become an advocate for the care recipient and the family caregiver
Manage care for a loved one for out-of-town families
Conduct ongoing assessments to monitor and implement changes in care
Oversee and direct care provided at home
Coordinate the efforts of key support systems
Provide personal counseling
Help with Medicaid qualification and application
Arrange for services of legal and financial advisors
Manage a conservatorship for a care recipient
Provide assistance with placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes
Monitor the care of a family member in a nursing home or in assisted living
Assist with the monitoring of medications
Find appropriate solutions to avoid a crisis
Coordinate medical appointments and medical information
Provide transportation to medical appointments
Assist families in positive decision making
Develop long range plans for older loved ones not now needing care
Depending on the country and health care organization, professional fees for the services of geriatric care managers may be billed privately on a fee-for-service basis. In the United States, they are not covered by Medicaid, Medicare nor by most private health insurance policies. However, clients may be able to bill some services to long term care insurance, depending on the history of the individual case.
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