GERIATRIC CARE MANAGERS: A PROFILE
An increasing number of people are living to advanced ages, and most prefer to remain in their own homes. This may be possible only with the help of family and friends. In many cases, with or without family assistance, additional supportive services may be needed. Persons with low income may be able to turn to government or non-profit agencies for help. A different option has become available in recent years for those whose income is too high for publicly funded services – private geriatric care management. Typically, a geriatric care manager (GCM) will, for a fee, assess a client’s needs, arrange services and monitor health care on an on-going basis. Geriatric care management is a valuable option for both older persons and their families.
Who can be a Geriatric Care Manager?
· Most GCM’s are licensed professionals, that are usually involved in nursing, social work or counseling.
What certifications are required of a GCM?
· To qualify as a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, one must submit a resume with letters of recommendation and verify that the individual has had some type of experience with the geriatric population. There are other professional certifications for Certified Case Manager (CCM) and Care Manager Certified (CMC) that require more stringent qualifications and documentation that support ongoing educational standards.
What types of services do GCM’s provide?
· Care planning and assessment to identify problems, eligibility and need for services.
· Assist families with medical, legal and financial issues.
· Health Crisis intervention.
· Act as a liaison for client’s and family members that do not live in close proximity to the client’s home
· Assist in moving to a retirement complex, assisted living or nursing home.
· Act as a referral source to provide consumer education, advocacy and psychological support. Your GCM should have extensive knowledge concerning the costs, quality and availability of services within your community.
How do you find the right GCM for you or your family member?
· Screen candidates thoroughly to insure that you are working with a qualified professional. Some of the questions to ask when looking for a GCM are: (1) what are your professional credentials, (2) are you licensed and in what field, (3) are you a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, (4) what is your average response time to return calls to clients and family, (5) what is your method of communication, (6) how will you communicate with me, (7) are you available for emergencies and (8) how are after hour emergencies handled. Other questions are how many different care managers will I be working with and what are your fees.
The GCM you choose should be in complete compliance with the new HIPPA guidelines and medical confidentiality policies and procedures to protect you and your family.
The GCM you choose should be able to assess your needs and advise you on available community resources. A well-trained care manager (GCM) can help individuals remain independent and safe in their home. The GCM you are working with should be able to identify what type of assistance you require in your home and be able to assess other living arrangements such as supportive housing, assisted living or nursing home placement if it is right for you.
Your choice of a GCM for yourself or for a family member is a difficult and intensely personal matter. At Elder Advocates of SC, Inc, we consider the concerns of the individual receiving our care first in order to offer opportunities to improve their quality of life. We can help you and your family implement practical solutions for the problems of everyday independent living.