What Is A Geriatric Care Manager?
A geriatric care manager (GCM) is a highly skilled advocate for older adults. Care managers provide professional services in a home or facility setting. Their goal is to help individuals retain as much independence as they can without compromising security or safety.
Care Managers represents a growing trend in the home care industry. Their expertise includes coordinating the services of caregivers and other professionals.
Geriatric and home care managers employ an all-inclusive approach to clients. Their training allows them to assess each client’s physical and mental needs. They are then able to create customized health care plans that provide the most benefit to the individual.
Five Reasons to Include a Care Manager on Your Team
Care management includes more than planning and guiding health care. GCMs have the ability to help with:
- Insurance and entitlements
- Legal and financial matters
- Involvement in activities
- Medical issues
- Family communication
Care managers are familiar with the resources available to their clients and will obtain all needed services. As professional care managers, they take on a vast array of responsibilities bringing comfort and peace of mind to their clients.
Insurance and Entitlements
Many elderly clients have Medicare and may qualify for other medical benefits. GCMs have the specialized knowledge that families and other members of a care facility may not have. They can complete applications for entitlement programs as well as community resources.
Applications and other paperwork can be complicated and time-consuming. Completing necessary documentation is part of a care manager’s job. They will also follow up to make sure all benefits and payments are received.
Legal and Financial Matters
Care managers are not lawyers or accountants; however, they will arrange for professional services when needed. When it’s necessary for families to apply for a conservatorship or power of attorney, a GCM can assist. They will refer their clients and family members to the appropriate expert for guidance and advocacy.
They have the expertise to help with budgeting, paying expenses, and filing documentation with appropriate courts. Their involvement ensures that a client’s rights are not violated. They also implement cost containment measures to prevent duplicate or unnecessary expenses.
Involvement in Activities
Recreation and socializing are important for quality of life, especially when a person is in a care facility. Care managers learn their client’s personalities and interests. They arrange suitable social activities that will keep clients involved with others.
Enjoyable recreational activities also keep individuals engaged and physically fit. A care manager’s health plan includes exercises, outings, and hobbies. The goal is to keep clients from becoming isolated and depressed.
Experienced GCMs work with caregivers to help their clients receive appropriate medications. They can observe and evaluate any changes in a client’s abilities, demeanor, or activities. They know when such changes require the attention of a professional.
GCMs will make medical appointments for their clients and accompany them to medical offices. They will speak for their clients when necessary to make sure physicians understand what’s needed. They keep accurate records of their client’s medical information.
A care manager also helps evaluate the need for specific levels of care. For example, they know when a client needs to move from rehab to assisted living. Their services can make such transitions easier for clients and their families.
Conflicts between members of a family or between families and facilities can impair a senior’s care. GCMs are trained in conflict resolution and crisis intervention. They also counsel their clients.
The care manager’s advice with decision making reduces stress and worry for families. They step in when families are too overwhelmed to cope. Their services can minimize the time families must take off from work.
Qualifications of Care Managers
Professional care managers study all aspects of human services, including the fields of gerontology, nursing, psychology, and social work. They are experts at providing elder care services because they are trained to:
“These services help to prevent caregiver burnout and maximize a loved one’s functional ability and quality of life,” according to aging care specialists.
Care managers are certified by various professional organizations. They are required to have degrees in one or more health care fields. They must also have several years of hands-on experience with elder care.
Are Care Managers Expensive?
Families often balk at hiring a geriatric care manager because of the cost. Most GCMs charge an initial consultation fee. Charges after that are either hourly or on a case-by-case basis.
Very few insurance programs reimburse GCM fees. Some long-term care policies will pay for the initial evaluation. “Most families who have chosen to work with a geriatric care manager maintain that, while their costs are high, their services are invaluable.”
When families are faced with obtaining the best possible care for elderly members, care managers at Pegasus Home Health Care are there to help. They are held to high standards of training, ethics, and practices. They are dedicated to providing quality care and support for their clients 24/7. Contact us for additional information.