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What is a Geriatric Care Manager?

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Aging Baby Boomers themselves may be a bit young for the services of a Geriatric Care Manager,  but there are many Boomers who are arranging care for an elderly parent or relative.  If you've ever been in the position of searching for information about resources in a community for the elderly, you already know that the task can be overwhelming and difficult - especially from out of town. 

Geriatric Care Managers are educated listeners who can provide an individualized road map for dealing with all the issues associated with aging. As per the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM), a professional Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is a health and human services specialist who helps families who are caring for older relatives. The GCM is trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management, including nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology and has 
extensive knowledge about the cost, quality and availability of elder services in the community.

GCM's are experts in helping families determine what kind of help an older adult needs and can assist in planning and coordinating whatever help is required. The services they provide include:
1. Conducting  a thorough assessment of a client’s physical, medical, mental and financial status so as to identify problems and provide both short and long term plans for care.
2. Providing crisis intervention
3. Acting as a liaison to families at a distance, overseeing care, and quickly alerting families to problems – especially important when families are engaged in long distance care giving
4. Screening, arranging, and monitoring in-home help or other services, including assistance in hiring a qualified caregiver for in home care.
5. Reviewing financial, legal, or medical issues and offering qualified referrals to geriatric specialists.
6. Assisting with moving an older person to or from a retirement complex, assisted care home, or nursing home.
7. Providing consumer education and advocacy.

Geriatric care managers often bridge the gap between ongoing independent living and more full-time care such as home health aides or assisted living.  Their role is essential when there are numerous decisions to be made, the person is in the midst of a crisis or at a crossroads such as a hospitalization.  GCM’s also serve to buffer some of the emotional stress that occurs in a crisis and help a family work towards a unified solution.

This is yet another case where Medicare or Medicaid does not pay for the service, and long-term care coverage varies widely.  Most agencies charge an hourly rate of between $60 to $300 per hour depending on the part of the country.  And while these fees can be pricey, sometimes a single consultation, where the family can become educated about their options, is all that’s needed. 

You can find Geriatric Care Managers through the Area Agency on Aging in a community, hospitals, senior centers, geriatric assessment centers, or non-profit agencies serving families.  You can also call the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Mangers at 520-881-8008


Susan Luxenberg
President
HomeSmart LLC


 

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