When hiring a care manager . ..

HERE ARE THINGS to consider when enlisting the services of a Aging Life Care manager:

ASK ABOUT LICENSES, experience and training in gerontology and human services.  Ask for references, and call them.
DISCUSS CARE PHILOSOPHY:  For example, is the care manager’s first interest always the elderly person?  How does the care manager feel about home versus assisted living?  Under what circumstances would he or she resign from the case?
ASK THE CARE MANAGER to specifically define the range of his or her services.  Take notes.
DISCUSS FEES.  Get a clear idea of what rate is charged and under what circumstances.  Do phone calls count?  Find out what a basic assessment and plan of care cost.
IS THE CARE MANAGER available in emergencies 24 hours a day?  Are there other managers in the office who can handle emergencies?  Are there backup systems?
BE FAMILIAR WITH the National Association of Aging Life Care Managers’ standards for care managers.
 

What does a Aging Life Care manager do?

 

  1. Compiles an assessment of an older person’s needs and situation.
  2. Encourages the person to accept help and provides a “plan of care” with specific recommendations.
  3. Finds and secures services such as legal counsel, home care, nursing care or home maintenance.
  4. Supports and counsels family members.
When Hugh McGuire made a business trip to the Chicago area, he decided to visit his wife’s 90-year-old aunt and 88-year-old uncle, who lived nearby in their own home.
What McGuire found alarmed him.  While the couple was still ambulatory and proud of their independence, there was no food in the house and the formerly fastidious couple were no longer taking care of themselves or their home.
Like a growing number of Americans taking care of aging relatives from afar, McGuire responded to the situation by hiring a geriatric care manager, a relatively new type of professional who helps plan and organize care for disabled elderly people.
More and more people “are learning that geriatric care managers are out there and that they can help with these problems,” says Erica Karp, who runs a geriatric care management firm in Evanston, Ill.
She was able to help McGuire’s relatives by arranging meals for them, straightening out their legal affairs and eventually finding placement for the wife in a nursing home, where Karp continues to visit her regularly.
McGuire’s situation is hardly unusual. At least one in every four American families provides care for an older relative. Many live hundreds of miles apart, compounding the stress and concerns of caregivers.  How can they be sure their relative is not refusing to eat or misusing medications or mismanaging finances or feeling depressed?
Family members may also face tough decisions—such as choosing between assisted living, home care or a nursing home—which may be complicated by a limited knowledge of available options.
Geriatric care managers aim to help families in these circumstances.  They may be hired either by family members or individuals needing care.
While care managers aren’t regulated by state or federal government, they’re usually licensed in a field of specialization, typically social work or nursing.  That means most care managers are subject to disciplinary action by a state licensing board should a violation of standards occur.  Technically, however, anyone can hang out a “geriatric care manager” shingle.
Even so, more care managers are joining groups like the National Association of Aging Life Care Managers, a voluntary organization with newly 1,600 members.  To qualify, the association says applicants must be licensed in their fields and train in geriatric, and they must adhere to professional guidelines and ethics.
 
National Association of Aging Life Care Managers has developed grievances procedures and will dismiss members who violate its requirements.

THE ABCs OF MANAGING CARE

 

The first thing Lory Smeltzer, a Aging Life Care Manager in the Tampa Bay region, does for a new client is assess the older person’s life—physical and mental health, family relationships, living conditions, finances and legal affairs.
She then draws up a “plan of care” based on her evaluation.  Like her colleagues, Lory says one of her most crucial tasks—and one that professionals sometimes do better than family members—is to convince the person to accept advice and help.
Competent care managers are able to find and hire needed help—home care workers, lawyers, nurses or even someone to mow the lawn.  Many straighten out finances and kitchens.  They may persuade clients that it’s no longer safe for them to drive.
 If a hard decision must be made—a move to a nursing home or hospitalization, for example—it may be easier for the care manager than a family member to be the “bad guy.”
In some cases, the role of care managers is narrower.  They simply evaluate the older person’s needs and draw up a plan for the immediate future.  If the situation changes, they may do subsequent “tuneups.”
Not all Aging Life Care Managers are created equal.  Some may lack the necessary training or experience. Some may give poor advice.
A Silver Spring, Md., man discovered this to his dismay a few years ago.  After his 94-year-old mother suffered a heart attack, he wondered what type of future living arrangement would be in her best interest:  living alone in her Santa Ana, Calif., apartment?  A nursing home?  Or some other facility?
He hired a geriatric care manager suggested by a friend to evaluate his mother and make a recommendation.
By the time he arrived in California 10 days later the care manager was waiting with her appraisal, which she said was based on a day of visiting the older woman and watching her in a rehab unit of an Orange County nursing home.
She concluded his mother could not live safely outside a nursing home.  She charged $300 for this advice and offered to stay on the case.
Unconvinced by this assessment, the son hired a professional nurse and enlisted the support of the Orange County ombudsman program.  A new evaluation came up with a different conclusion.  His mother had the physical and mental prowess to live a quasi-independent life.
The man fired the geriatric care manager and moved his mother to an assisted living facility, where she lived successfully for several years. click here for our other services…..
 
Article By: Linda Greider
Published in: AARP, December 2001, Vol. 42 No. 11, Washington D.C. p 9-13.

Ethics Aging Life care managers follow

PROVISION OF SERVICE
I will provide ongoing service to you only after I have assessed your needs and you, or a person designated to act for you, understand and agree to a plan of service, the results that may be expected from it, and the cost of service.
SELF-DETERMINATION
I will base my plan of service on goals you, or a person designated to act for you, have defined, and which enhance the decisions you have made concerning your life.
LOYALTY
My first duty is loyalty to you. I will always provide services based on your best interest, even if this conflicts with my interests or the interests of others.
TERMINATION OF SERVICE
I will end service to you only after reasonable notice. I will recommend a plan for you to continue to receive the services as needed.
SUBSTITUTE JUDGMENT
I will not substitute my judgment for yours unless I am acting in the role of your guardian, appointed by a Court of Law, or with your approval, or the approval of someone designated to act for you.
CONFIDENTIALITY
I will hold in trust any confidence you give me, disclosing information to others only with your permission, or if I am compelled to do so by a belief that you will be seriously harmed by my silence, or if the laws of this State require me to do so.
REFERRALS/DISCLOSURE
I will refer you only to services and organizations I believe to be appropriate and of good quality. I will fully explain to you any business relationship I have with any service I propose, and give you information on alternatives, if at all possible, so that you, or a person designated to act for you, can make an informed decision to accept or reject the services I recommend to you.
COOPERATION
I will strive to ensure cooperation between all of the individuals involved in providing service and care to you.
QUALIFICATIONS
I am fully qualified in my profession to provide the services I undertake. I continue to improve my skills and knowledge by participating in professional development programs and maintaining certification and licensing in my profession.
DISCRIMINATION

I will not promote or sanction any form of discrimination.

Frequently asked questions of Aging Life Care managers

What is a Aging Life Care Manager? Generally, a Care Manager is a professional who specializes in assisting seniors and their families with assessing needs, developing a plan of care, and arranging for community services to meet their needs and their budget. They continually monitor the plan over time and adjust the services according to changes in level of care.
2) What qualifications should one look for in a Aging Life Care Manager? Beware that not all “Care Managers” are created equal. What sets apart a Aging Life Care Manager  from the self-proclaimed ones are expert credentials, high level of education, extensive experience in a healthcare related field, active memberships in professional associations, and a national certification in the field of care management.
3) Why is it important for a Care Manager to be a member of the National Association of Aging Life Geriatric Care Managers  and be Certified in Care Management? Care Management is relatively new in health care therefore it is not as regulated as other health care professions such as nursing. Being a member of the Aging Life Care Managers is a means of regulating and governing our industry.  Each member has to uphold strict standards of practice and a code of ethics. Obtaining a national certification in Care Management further distinguishes the care manager from those who are not.
4) What are some important questions to ask a Aging Life Care? Ask specific questions such as are you available after hours for emergencies, who covers for you when you are away, how often and in what form will you communicate information to me, what is your fee structure, can you provide me with both client and professional references.  A care manager should be comfortable in answering all of your questions openly and honestly.
5) Who may benefit from hiring or referring to a Aging Life Care Manager?
  • Seniors who live alone and have little or no support system;
  • Family members who are geographically distanced from their loved one;
  • Family members who live nearby, but do not know how to tap into the appropriate local community resources;
  • Attorneys or trust officers needing assistance with their clients’ health care related issues;
  • Physicians wanting to streamline communication between their patients and family members or possible concerns with their patients current living arrangements;
  • Hospital and nursing home social workers seeking a safe discharge plan and assurance that their patient will have someone coordinating their care and assisting them on a long-term basis;
  • Home care companies looking for assistance in dealing with their patients’ social issues, help with linkage to other community resources, or possible placement options;
  • Senior communities seeking adjunct services to help increase contentment for some of their more challenging residents
6) What are some ways a senior or family member can benefit from a Aging Life Care Manager’s assistance?
  • Flexibility: Services are provided in a variety of settings; homes, retirement centers, continuing care communities, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes;
  • Assurance:  On-going monitoring and regular reporting to long distanced loved ones gives them a peace of mind and reassurance that their family member is well cared for;
  • Cost Control: Carefully matched community services to specific needs reduces overuse or duplication of services keeping expenses contained and possibly helping to prevent costly crisis from reoccurring;
  • Quality of Care:  care managers who are Aging Life Care Management members, nationally certified, and have many years of experience in healthcare will provide a higher degree of quality of in the care and treatment of the senior
7)  Why should a senior or a family member hire a Aging Life Care Manager? They  can help streamline the sometimes complicated and confusing process involved in managing ones health care related issues.  They are most familiar with the local community resources and will know the specific services and costs of those services. With the care manager  being proactively involved in your care and treatment, costly crisis can be reduced and sometimes even avoided.
8) What does the Aging Life Care Manager evaluate during the assessment process?   A basic assessment concentrates on areas such as medical, psycho-    social, functional status, living environment, home safety, legal and financial concerns.  Other assessment tools that may be used include the Geriatric Depression Scale or the Mini Mental Status Exam.  The care manager should maintain an extensive database of assessment tools and should know which tools to use to yield the specific results.  Then an individualized plan of care is drafted outlining areas of concern and listing recommendations for improvement. The care manager will implement the plan by arranging and coordinating services and monitoring those services over time making the necessary adjustments as ones needs change.
9) What is the most important job of a Aging Life Care Manager in working with seniors and their families? The most important job of a care manager is making sure the needs of our seniors are being met in the least restrictive way and without sacrificing their dignity, respect, or quality of life, along with giving their families a peace of mind and a support system they can rely on.

What is Aging Life Care Management?

An aging life care manger, also known as a geriatric care manager is a person who has specialized training to provide care for older adults. Most GCMs hold graduate degrees in nursing, gerontology, psychology, social work or health and human services.

Geriatric care managers interface with family members and professionals in a variety of areas, such as legal services, health care, counseling and housing. Depending on their training, GCMs may provide assessments; placement; education; psychotherapy; counseling; advocacy; information and referral; crisis intervention; care management; entitlements; home care; insurance; and direction on guardianship or conservatorship.

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers evolved out of an earlier organization that was established in 1984. This organization boasts a membership of 1,100 professionals throughout the United States who work in a variety of aging-related settings. Members must comply with relevant state and professional licensing and certification requirements as part of the GCM membership requirement.

It is the forte of geriatric care managers to answer questions involving in-home assessments; care options; arranging for the payment of social security taxes; finding the best living arrangements; community resources; alerting children who live at a distance; estate planning; and other legal and financial issues. By being able to explain options, arrange for services, coordinate care and monitor the changing needs of individual clients, GCMs provide continuity and serve as valuable resources.

Geriatric care management fees are dependent upon the combination of services to be provided and the complexity of the individual situation. In the case of my friend and her parents, a typical scenario might play out as follows: The client contacts ADVANCED Senior Solutions, Inc. and requests 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(s) to discuss the findings. After the assessments are done, the GCM presents a range of care plan options, including a description