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Lavine Long Term Care Encyclopedia

When Do You Need a Geriatric Care Consultant?

Except for families whose members include medical professionals, few have any expertise in providing care to aging, ill, or fail relatives and yet these are exactly the people who must provide some or all of the needed care. A geriatric care manager can help.

Geriatric care managers are a health and human services specialists who work with families that are providing care for loved ones. They are trained and experienced in care management, nursing, gerontology, social work, and psychology. These professionals relieve the stress as an ill person’s spouse, partner, or children attempt to find solutions for problems that seem insurmountable.

Geriatric care management is a relatively new profession but it’s a rapidly growing profession because of the aging Boomer segment of the population.

Geriatric care managers visit the residence of the person who needs care, assesses the situation, and then offers an extensive assessment of the person’s circumstances, options, and choices. The care manager takes into consideration the personality of the person who is ill, medical issues, family dynamics, the physical condition and safety of the residence, and funds available for care.

Next, the geriatric care manager will develop a care plan specifically for the person who needs care. The plan should outline steps to be taken immediately as well as actions needed over a longer term.

Using the care plan as a blueprint, the care manager will conduct educational sessions with members of the family so that they will be able to fully understand the patient’s illness, the prognosis, and the expected outcome.

In many cases, the geriatric care manager will continue to be involved in the ill person’s care by monitoring the situation and assuring that the program is progressing as expected.

Determining When to Call In a Geriatric Care Manager

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) describes several situations in which both the ill person and the ill person’s family would benefit from the expertise of a geriatric care manager. Here are a few examples:

  • When the person illness is something that family members do not have the training or expertise to deal with. This would include the normal frailty that comes with old age, dementia, or serious injury.
  •  When ill person regularly forgets to take medications.
  •  If you consider it unsafe for a loved one to continue to drive but cannot resolve the problem on your own.
  •  When you’re trying to determine whether a person can continue to live at home safely or might need an extended-care facility.
  •  When an aging relative is living alone and you are concerned about whether he or she can conduct appropriate self-care.
  •  When a loved one’s depression interferes with sleeping, eating, and their interest in life.
  •  When you want to ensure that your loved one is receiving Medicare benefits and all other available entitlements.

When seeking assistance from a geriatric care manager, you should confirm that the person has been certified by NAPGCM because the organization requires members to participate in continuing education in order to maintain their certification.