Care management is a service that takes the burden off of families caring for elderly relatives or provides extra support for seniors who can’t or won’t rely on family for assistance.
While caregivers provide help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, companionship, etc., a care manager is a higher level of service that can help with decision making, legal document preparation, medication issues, health planning, social and living issues, and collaboration between family and physicians.
Typical services provided include:
• Written Medication Profiles and Updates
• Refill Services and Management
• Organization in pill boxes/dispensers
• Home Safety Assessments
• Comprehensive Health Assessments and Ongoing Assistance
• Medical Appointment Scheduling/Accompaniment
• Chronic Disease Management and Crisis Intervention
• Community Referrals and Legal Planning/Direction
• Collaborative Family Communication
Care managers who are certified through the Aging Life Care Association adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. Among the most important rules is that a care manager is independent and puts the needs of the senior first. Care managers are not to give advice which is influenced by referral fees. Therefore, care managers do not steer older adults toward a particular product, service or residence based on fees paid in return. Care managers are advocates purely for the benefit of the older adult. Most are college educated and several have advanced degrees in nursing or social work. They must have at least one year of experience in order to sit for the Care Manager, Certified exam.
Who may benefit from a care manager?
• Clients who have medical or psychological problems
• People who are not safe in their current living environment and need housing options
• Seniors who are unhappy with current daily care providers and need resources
• Adults who are confused by legal or financial situations and need advocacy
• Families who are “burned out” or too geographically far to care for relatives
• Those who need education, advocacy, problem solving
One example of when to call a care manager is when a family wants an independent analysis of a senior’s current living situation and whether enough supports are there. A care manager may recommend changes to the home, suggest adding home heath care or even tackle difficult conversations such as whether the senior should continue driving. A care manager is also a trusted companion that can make sure a senior’s social life and interests are maintained even with the challenges of aging.
Clients pay care managers hourly and care managers dedicate themselves to putting the strengths, needs, goals and preferences of the client into a formalized plan of care. They can tackle single issues, such as advising and accompanying seniors touring retirement communities or assisted living communities. Or for clients who need extensive help, they can start with getting proper assistance with advance directives, coordinating banking or budgeting issues, coordinating in home care or stepping in to a crisis situation and collaborating on a holistic plan to stabilize the senior.
One service a care manager should not provide is supervision of “under the table” caregivers, as this would make the care manager jointly liable with the client for wage and hour, tax and other employment requirements. However, a care manager can collaborate with caregivers legally hired and paid through a full-service agency, such as At Home Nursing Care.
At Home Nursing Care providers care management through our nurse care managers and also our Care Manager, Certified staff.