Professional geriatric care management is a client-centered approach to caring for older adults (and often younger persons with disabilities) who are facing ongoing health and daily challenges. Geriatric are management takes into account the client’s entire system including families, friends, caregivers, spiritual communities and more.
A geriatric care manager (GCM) is a professional who partners with older adults and their families to understand the current situation, functional abilities and deficits, options for care now and in the future. The GCM can implement a plan to ensure the elder’s safety and highest degree of independence. The Ethics and Standards of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) states clearly that “the primary client is the person whose care needs have initiated the referral to a geriatric care manager.”
Professional GCMs are educated and experienced in any of several health and human service fields including, but not limited to, social work, nursing, occupational or physical therapy, gerontology or psychology. GCMs should have special knowledge and experience with issues related to aging and elder care.
Geriatric Care Managers who are members of the NAPGCM differ from Patient Advocates, Senior Advisors, Senior Naviagors and Elder Advocates. NAPGCM members must met stringent education, experience and certification requirements of the organization and all care manager members are required to adhere to a string Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Geriatric care management is a private pay service, although some long term care insurance policies may cover costs.
Geriatric Care Managers can do the following:
* Conduct comprehensive Functional Assessments
* Develop a care plan and coordinate the support team
* Offer guidance in selecting appropriate care ranging from in-home support to placement in a care facility
* Refer to other elder care professionals
* Identify resources for financial support
* Assist in negotiating complex family dynamics
* Act as local liaisons and monitors for out of town family members
* Offer guidance and support for planning and decisions about end-of-life care
Information on how to find a GCM near you and questions to ask when retaining a GCM can be found at www.caremanager.org or www.gcmnewengland.org.
Deborah Liss Fins, LICSW, CMC is the President of Deborah Fins Associates, PC, which has provided geriatric care management services since 1995. For more information and a complimentary initial telephone consultation, please contact us at 508-752-5330 or www.finseldercare.com.