Services from care managers should be something that every family takes advantage of, but in reality very few families use them. Qualified managers could go a long ways towards helping the family find better and more efficient ways of providing care for a loved one.
The concept is simple. The family hires a professional adviser to act as a guide through the maze of long term care services and providers. The care manager has been there many times. The family is experiencing it usually for the first time.
Hiring a care manager should be no different than hiring an attorney to help with legal problems or a CPA to help with tax problems. Most people don’t attempt to solve legal problems on their own. And the use of professional tax advice can be an invaluable investment. The same is true of using an experienced manager.
Unfortunately there are too few care managers and the public is so poorly informed about the services of a care manager, that valuable resources that could be provided go lacking.
The irony of not using a care manager is that most families — when given the opportunity to use these services — think they can do it themselves and will not pay the money. Yet the services of a care manager most likely will save them considerably more money than do-it-yourself. The cost of the care manager might be only a fraction of the savings the manager could produce. Care management services can also greatly reduce family and caregiver stress and help eliminate family disputes and disagreements.
Even the Yellow Pages do not cooperate in helping the public find care managers. To find a care manager one must look in the Yellow Pages under “Senior Services”. Who is going to know to look under that subject?
Below is a partial list of what a care manager might do:
- Assess the level and type of care needed and develop a care plan
- Take steps to start the care plan and keep it functioning
- Make sure care is received in a safe and disability friendly environment
- Resolve family conflicts and other family issues relating to long term care
- Become an advocate for the care recipient and the family caregiver
- Manage care for a loved one for out-of-town families
- Conduct ongoing assessments to monitor and implement changes in care
- Oversee and direct care provided at home
- Coordinate the efforts of key support systems
- Provide personal counseling
- Help with Medicaid qualification and application
- Arrange for services of legal and financial advisors
- Manage a conservatorship for a care recipient
- Provide assistance with placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes
- Monitor the care of a family member in a nursing home or in assisted living
- Assist with the monitoring of medications
- Find appropriate solutions to avoid a crisis
- Coordinate medical appointments and medical information
- Provide transportation to medical appointments
- Assist families in positive decision making
- Develop long range plans for older loved ones not now needing care