Family caregivers possess an enormous amount of knowledge about what their elderly relatives need, but sometimes making decisions about services and coordinating them over time can be overwhelming. In this case, additional professional advice and expertise can be very helpful. You do not need to do this alone!
A geriatric care manager (GCM) is a professional who has specialized training and experience in providing care for older adults. Most GCM’s hold graduate degrees in social work, gerontology or nursing. The primary role of the GCM is to lift the burden off of family members and other caregivers, so that they can resume their role as spouse or child, uninhibited with burden of care planning, monitoring and coordination.
GCM’s are experienced in working with families, evaluating needs and dealing with complicated family dynamics. They will make home visits and assist in determining eligibility for resources. GCM’s interface with family members and professionals from different areas, such as, legal services, health care, and housing. Families can choose what they need help with. These professionals can:
- Make an assessment about the need for homecare and other services;
- Develop a care plan about the specific services needed;
- Coordinate home and medical care and hire home care workers;
- Monitor home care services and make needed adjustments;
- Secure respite care when needed;
- Provide assistance to families in addressing legal and financial issues;
- Assist in dealing with the complicated government benefits;
- Make placement recommendations;
- Provide education, information and referral resources; and
- Direction on guardianship or conservatorship.
It is the forte of GCM’s to answer questions involving in-home assessments, care options, home care, finding the best living arrangements, community resources, alerting children who live at a distance, and other legal and financial issues. By being able to explain options, arrange for services, coordinate care and monitor changing needs of individual clients, GCM’s provide continuity and serve as valuable resources.
GCM fees are dependent upon the combination of services to be provided and the complexity of the individual situation. The typical scenario might be: client contacts the GCM for an initial consultation, the consultation is followed up by an agreement to perform a needs assessment, after which a meeting is scheduled between the GCM and the client to discuss the findings. After the assessment is complete the GCM provides a range of care options for the family.
Author: Todd Chambers, L.C.S.W. Todd is the owner of All the Comfort of Home, Inc. – a provider of homecare and geriatric care management services. He can be reached at 303-346-1292.