Can you use a geriatric care manager?

Services from geriatric 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 with cost containment and finding better and more efficient ways of providing care for a loved one.

The concept is simple. The family hires a professional adviser (care manager) to act as a guide through the maze of long-term care services and providers. By providing consumer education and advocacy, reducing costs by avoiding inappropriate placements, duplication of services, and unnecessary hospitalizations.

The assessment and care plan, which is developed collaboratively by the patient and care providers, is designed and implemented to optimize the patient’s health status and quality of life. 

Scheduled visits should be used for all patients and include regular assessment, preventive interventions and attention to self-management support.

Continuity of care is a high priority and all chronic disease interventions should include active coordination between primary care, specialists and other relevant groups.

Here is a partial list of what a care manager might do:

• Assess the level and type of care needed and develop a care plan

• Provide home health aides for In-home assistance

• 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.

Doug Kaufman, GCM, is the president of Homecare of Alaska,LLC

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