Geriatric care managers do a wide array of tasks for their elder clients and families. It is almost hard to say there is a “typical day” for a geriatric care manager due to the varied nature of the job. However, here we will share with you some of the common tasks handled by care managers and the ways these benefit clients. You will get a good picture of the role and skills involved in quality care management.
A good care manager is an excellent planner and must manage time carefully…while at the same time having the flexibility to change courses quickly and adeptly. A care management job by nature revolves around the particular clients the care manager is serving. One of the unique aspects of care management is that while practices are standardized, the services aren’t “one size fits all”. The care manager is a problem solver, which is often a bit like solving a puzzle. The pieces may be very different, but the care manager knows common patterns and techniques to solve the puzzle.
Geriatric care managers don’t spend most days behind a desk. You’re more likely to find them behind the wheel of the car and in and out of care facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals and clients’ homes. Care management has benefited from technology advances that enable the communication and research involved to be done more efficiently for a mobile workforce.
Some of the major tasks carried out by geriatric care managers (and why these are so important) include:
- Coordinating and attending medical appointments: A big piece of quality care management is helping clients achieve better consistency and thus results from medical treatment and care, i.e. bringing a holistic picture to medical treatment that includes other aspects as well (nutrition, how the person is managing/safety at home, emotional issues, medication management and more). The care manager helps coordinate and advocate for the individual and can help all providers achieve better results for the patient through this continuity (and communication).
- Assessing and re-evaluating concerns/needs: Care managers not only do initial geriatric assessments in which many areas are evaluated for customized recommendations, they also evaluate on an ongoing basis. These “routine” visits are checkups to spot things that could become a problem. They keep things on track and also provide peace of mind to family members and others involved.
- Coordinating providers, services, benefits: A care manager typically makes initial recommendations and helps set up services which then evolve as needs change. This is a broad category, as a care manager could help with anything from setting up in-home care to ascertaining an appointment with a highly sought after specialist to assisting with benefits eligibility. This is where geriatric care managers are really “resource experts”. Because this category can cover any aspect of clients’ lives, this is also where clients benefit from a team approach like that at Aging Wisely. The Aging Wisely client has access to the knowledge of a whole team of resource experts.
- Communicating to involved parties: It is well documented that some of the biggest problems that arise, for example at hospital discharge or other transitions, come from communication gaps. The care manager takes the time to: make sure parties are informed with the necessary information, ensure understanding of instructions, procedures, risks etc., ask key questions (often the most common “unasked” questions that produce misunderstandings) and provide feedback.
This “day in the life of a geriatric care manager” just highlights some of the big categories of tasks involved in the role. The reality is that because geriatric care management is so customized, each day for each care manager can look very different. The care manager must also be “crisis manager”, helping when a client goes to the emergency room or other immediate concerns arise. It is also for these reasons that a team approach can provide the best results for clients. You can read more about Aging Wisely’s team approach to geriatric care management here.
Need a quality geriatric care manager in Tampa Bay, Florida? Give us a call at 727-447-5845 for a free needs analysis and help with any and all of the above tasks!