Why Hire a Geriatric Care Manager?

Selecting a Geriatric Care Manager
Abigail sits by her father’s hospital bedside, thankful that he is finally asleep after a difficult night.  She brought him to the emergency room two days ago, finding him feverish and confused.  He was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, caused by an enlarging prostate.  His first round of IV antibiotics didn’t go well. He had an allergic reaction, and developed a severe rash and a heart arrhythmia.  Thankfully, his doctors were able to stabilize him, and changed his antibiotic.
He rests peacefully as his exhausted daughter worries about not only his future and physical well being, but the physical and emotional well being of her own family.  Abigail is pregnant with twins, and has a demanding full-time job.  Where is she going to find the time and energy to take care of her father’s growing needs?  Her older sister is in medical school and has a grueling schedule, so she won’t be able to help that much. Her father already has a long list of medical problems, and now we’re throwing prostate issues, more medications, and urology appointments into the mix.  Fortunately, a hospital social worker informs Abigail about the benefits of Geriatric Care Management.Geriatric Care Management is the process of coordinating care of the elderly with physical and/or mental impairments.  It aids in finding resources and making decisions for your loved one, thereby reducing your stress and uncertainty.  It can include health care, psychological care, housing, home care services, nutritional services, transportation services, assistance with medical equipment, and other activities of daily living. Geriatric Care Management, in a sense, is a one-stop resource in caring for your elderly loved one.  Geriatric Care Management is especially helpful for long distance caregivers, easing the worry and guilt of not being able to care for a loved one due to geographical constraints.A Geriatric Care Manager typically has training in nursing, social work, gerontology, or other healthcare service, and acts as a guide and advocate for the geriatric patient and the family. They are educated about the costs, availability, and quality of services for senior citizens in their community.

A Geriatric Case Manager will meet with the elderly patient, and communicate closely with the family.  A comprehensive assessment is performed, allowing the care manager to understand the patient’s needs.  Will he be able to live in his own home, unassisted?  Will he need the assistance of in-home care?  Will he be able to remain living independently at all? Perhaps assisted living is a safer alternative?  Will he need any specialized medical equipment, such as home oxygen, a hospital bed, or hoyer lift?  Will he need transportation home from the hospital, and to and from medical appointments?  Who will be arranging the transportation?  Will he need help refilling his medications, and will he require medication reminders?  A Geriatric Case Manager will take all of this into consideration when performing a thorough assessment.

Once the assessment is complete, the care manager will prepare a “Care Plan.”  This includes the results of the assessment, and recommendations to aid in the care and well-being of the patient.  For example, recommendations can include in-home care, which could range from a part-time housekeeper, to 24/7 care by a reputable home care agency.  It could include medication management services, physical therapy, speech therapy, or transportation services.  The manager may make the recommendation for specialized medical equipment, such as a bedside commode, shower chair, chair lifts, or a glucose monitor.

The Geriatric Case Manager will arrange these services, which are tailored specifically to the patient’s desires and needs.  The case manager also monitors these services and arrangements on a regular basis, and makes adjustments to the care plan as needed.

Abigail was given a list of reputable Geriatric Care Managers in her area, and now she feels a great sense of relief, knowing that she will not be facing the challenge of caring for her elderly father alone.

For more information on Geriatric Case Management:  National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers