By Amy Seigel, RN, CRRN, Certified Case Manager
If you are a long distance caregiver taking care of your parents or other family, a Professional Geriatric Care Manager can be your local eyes and ears for the care of your parent or family member.
What can a Geriatric Care Manager do for you? Here is a summary of the typical steps in the geriatric care management process. Hopefully this will help long-distance caregivers to get the most value out of their relationship with a Professional Geriatric Care Manager.
Typically there are four phases when working with a Professional Geriatric Care Manager.
1. ASSESSMENT (Ask them how quickly this can be arranged)
This is where a care manager will really get to know your family member’s history and current status, and start to build a supportive advocacy relationship. You can expect that this will take us approximately 2.0 to 2.5 hours for one person, or 2.5 to 3.5 hrs for a couple, excluding travel time. Ask your Care Manager for a list of issues that will be covered during the assessment.
2. CARE PLAN (Usually within 2-3 business days after the assessment)
Your Professional Geriatric Care Manager should provide you with a formal, written care management plan. The plan is 3-4 typed pages documenting medical history, physicians, meds, dosages, frequencies, caregivers, home safety, memory status, and other areas and preferences.
Most importantly, the geriatric assessment should provide you with a bulleted list of action items – steps they will begin to take immediately to optimize health outcomes and status. This plan is your “snapshot” which you can use as your benchmark and measure progress against stated goals. Your Care Manager should review the care plan with you so that you understand the scope of the work that we will be doing and have an opportunity to clarify any questions at that time.
3. IMPLEMENTATION (Starts right away, higher activity during the first 2-4 weeks)
Your Professional Geriatric Care Manager should get right to work on the action items in the care plan. Every client’s situation is unique, so they will need to will prioritize their activity to get important issues addressed quickly. Their goal in this phase should be to stabilize the situation and help the client to improve their status.
4. CARE MANAGEMENT (Ongoing)
Once things are stable, it’s not over! This is where your Professional Geriatric Care Manager is most important. Perhaps they were consulted due to noticeable changes or a crisis situation. Their role in this ongoing phase is to provide consistent professional oversight to prevent future crises as much as possible. Your Care Manager’s trained eyes and skilled interventions will help optimize health and independence and avert unnecessary ER visits.
We hope that this helps you to better understand how to work with a Professional Geriatric Care Manager in the most optimal and cost effective manner.
About the author: Amy Seigel is owner and Director of the elder care management team at Advocare Elder Care Management, with RN Care Managers in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami. Ms. Seigel was voted Case Manager of the Year by her peer professionals in the South Florida Case Management Association in January, 2010. Advocare’s team of professional Nurse Care Managers combine strong medical and psycho-social skills to advocate for elder clients and advise their families. For more info, visit the Advocare by clicking here: Advocare Website.