What makes our company unique?
Anyone can hang out a shingle and call himself or herself a geriatric care manager, gerontologist or specialist without any training or experience. However, only a handful of applicants have completed the lengthy certification process and earned the title Certified Care/Case Manager or CCM or CMC. These dedicated professionals have supervisory experience, credentials such as a licensed registered nurse or licensed clinical social worker, and have at minimum a bachelor’s degree. Most have been mentored by a certified geriatric care manager for five years. Most importantly, they have passed a four-hour board-certified exam that evaluates their knowledge, assessment skills, and experience in working with the elderly population. Only hire a certified geriatric care manager and make sure to ask for references.
What are Geriatric Care Coordinators/Managers?
Geriatric Care Coordinators/Managers (also called Geriatric Care Specialists/Healthcare Managers) are health and human services professionals with specialized knowledge of and experience in senior care. They advocate for senior clients, collaborate with their clients’ families, offer an independent assessment of the situation, and coordinate appropriate and cost-effective services.
Processing a loved one’s diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer or a life-threatening illness can be overwhelming. More often than not, family members struggle with emotions during this time; few are prepared for how these situations will affect them personally. A Geriatric Care Coordinator/Manager can explain what the diagnosis means, what they need to do, what options are available and where they can go for additional assistance and information.
Even more importantly, the Geriatric Care Coordinator/Manager helps relieve the fears and anxieties of both family members and the elderly person involved by providing them with an expert who is highly trained in listening to and allaying their fears.
When Are Geriatric Care Coordinator/Managers Needed?
A good guideline is “any life-changing health problem” for which all parties would benefit from professional support and counsel. Life changes come in all sizes and shapes, and may require a range of assistance and services — for example, accessing appropriate services to help an aging parent who is experiencing early memory loss, recent falls or frequent hospitalizations remain safely and independently at home, or determining the right care options for an aging parent, following the death of his or her spouse who had been the primary caregiver.
Life changes such as these typically catch family members unprepared. Geriatric Care Coordinators/Managers can help both in the case of an immediate, unexpected crisis or when family members are planning for the future.
What Do Geriatric Care Coordinator/Managers Do?
They facilitate the dialogue among family members about what can be done to ensure the client can live as independently and safely as possible. To that end, Geriatric Care Coordinator/Managers use specialized assessment tools, research all the options, make recommendations and assist with implementing a plan of care. They connect families to a variety of service and housing options including, but not limited to, home health care, chore services, visiting nurses, doctors, assisted living communities or long-term care centers. In addition, they link families to other service providers such as elder law specialists and senior move managers.
What is a Geriatric Assessment?
A Geriatric Assessment is a comprehensive evaluation performed by the Geriatric Care Coordinator/Manager that then serves as the foundation for a plan of care. The assessment tool includes questions about
- the client’s physical, medical, mental, nutritional, legal, financial and psycho-social health
- the client’s ability to live independently and perform basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADL): showering, dressing, cooking, managing money, following medication routine, use of telephone or other communication
- the safety of the client’s living environment
- the extent of the client’s social network and relationships
- the availability of support services.
The Geriatric Care Coordinator/Manager may work independently or as part of a team, which might include physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists and dieticians. The plan of care typically includes specific recommendations to address current problems, strategies to monitor the client’s status and options for future or anticipated problems.
Can hiring a Geriatric Care Coordinator/Manager ultimately be a cost-saving choice?
YES, given the time, effort and cost involved in family caregiving situations, using the services of a geriatric care coordinator/manager can ultimately provide to be a wise choice.
Most families today are known as the “Sandwich Generation” — caught (or “sandwiched”) between caring for their own children and aging relatives, along with, in many cases, working outside the home. Depending on the location of the aging relative, the family caregiver may have to miss work or even incur transportation costs to undertake regular visits to oversee the family member’s situation and condition. In any case, ongoing caregiving (whether the family member lives close by or in another state) requires a steadily increasing amount of time and effort as well as specialized knowledge to handle the health and financial issues that develop.
Thanks to their training and experience, Geriatric Care Coordinators/Managers can offer families a comprehensive range of services, from identifying appropriate community resources to navigating the medical system. They understand Medicare, Medicaid, and veteran’s benefits, and know how to evaluate assisted living facilities and nursing homes. By conducting a thorough Geriatric Assessment, they will be able to identify what the aging client needs and what resources and living arrangements will provide the best quality of life.
Using the services of a Geriatric Care Coordinator/Manager ensures that the needs of the aging relative and the concerns of family members will be addressed quickly and appropriately. (One of our most valuable skills is pinpointing the client’s immediate and long-term needs, and distinguishing among the best and least costly available resources.)
This relieves a large part of the burden from caregivers while providing them with the security of knowing that the right solutions are being implemented.
What’s the cost of service for a Geriatric Care Coordinator/Manager?
Costs vary by region of the country and care management organization or individual. There may be one fee for the assessment and then hourly charges thereafter, with hourly fees ranging from $75.00 to $250.00.
Currently, Medicare doesn’t cover any of the charges, but that may change if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, is fully implemented. In addition, some Long-Term Care insurance policies do reimburse for geriatric care coordination/management if the care manager has specific credentials. Check with your private insurance company for details.
Should I ask for references?
Absolutely! Since anyone can use the term “geriatric care manager” or “geriatric care coordinator/specialist,” references are a must, especially since that person will be privy to detailed information such as Medicare and social security numbers, date of birth, bank account information, credit card numbers and other sensitive and confidential information.
Scam artists are a huge concern for our elderly population, who may be either far too trusting or lack the mental or physical ability to appropriately evaluate a potential service provider.
Trust must be earned and the first step is checking the certified geriatric care manager’s current and past clients. Keep in mind that, although certified geriatric care managers have already been subjected to a routine background check, other uncertified care managers may not have been. Family members should arrange to have a complete background check on other types of care managers and caregivers before employing them.
Do you provide phone consultations?
Yes, While the first initial phone call/contact (lasting about 30 minutes) is free, ongoing phone consultations, on-site visits or any time spent on behalf of the client will be charged on an hourly basis. Visit Brown’s RN’s and Geriatric Care Managers, Inc. or call us at 561-317-7482 for further details.