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Geriatric Care Management Assessment: A Caregiver’s Gift

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Caregivers: this holiday season, give yourself the ultimate gift. The geriatric care management assessment will save you time, money and a lot of headaches. Why not check into how a geriatric assessment could help you?

gift of the geriatric care management assessment

 Why is the geriatric care management assessment a gift for the caregiver?

  • It gives you the feeling you have a handle on the situation with your aging parent or other elderly loved one. You get a baseline of different aspects of the person’s situation and care needs. This can also be a wonderful tool in discussions (or disagreements) with other family members, professionals, etc.
  • You walk away with actionable tips, thus feeling less overwhelmed.
  • It offers realistic solutions. The internet and your friends may offer a lot of advice…some of it may or may not be for you. It may be just plain wrong, or just not apply to your loved one. A geriatric care management assessment is specifically built for your loved one’s unique situation.
  • The geriatric care management assessment is a plan, built on a thorough analysis of the situation. Having a plan saves you time and minimizes the chances of crisis.
  • Rather than having to learn an entire field from scratch (caregiving already feels like getting several Ph.Ds sometimes!), you get an expert who can share their years of experience and knowledge with you. You can quickly gain access to all sorts of resources and information that could take a long time to uncover otherwise. The care manager is hired just to help you…they aren’t a gatekeeper for an organization or focused on one specific program. Care managers can therefore offer you a world of options, so that your loved one gets the best care and you have a smoother journey as a caregiver.

How do I get a care management assessment done on my loved one?

It’s simple, contact us and we’ll set it up. If you aren’t in the Clearwater/St. Pete/Tampa Bay area, we can refer you to a colleague in your area. Worried that your loved one won’t like the idea? We encounter that all the time, so we know how to help. You’ll be delighted by how smoothly things will actually go. We have a dedicated Senior Care Consultant who does complimentary phone consultations and attends the initial face-to-face meeting to ensure everything goes well. She’s an expert in the process and the best approaches for sensitive issues. One of the most frequent compliments our care managers receive is about their ability to handle sensitive situations and guide the family in a dignified approach.

What happens after we get the geriatric care management assessment?

You have an actionable plan with specific resources, so you can follow through or hire our care managers to help guide you. With their help, you can put the suggestions into place with ease. As mentioned, their approach often helps and is especially useful because of the personal separation they have versus family members. It is easy for them to see things objectively and offer your family advice backed up by their deep experience. Depending on the priorities outlined in the geriatric care management assessment, you may hire home caregivers, begin seeking out alternative care arrangements or make some modifications to the home or care situation.

Give yourself the best gift to start 2015 off on the right foot…contact us (phone: 727-447-5845) to discuss getting a geriatric care management assessment done by “your family’s advocate”, Aging Wisely.

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The Role of the Assessment in Accessing Public Benefits

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florida medicaid

Paying for long-term care services is a top financial concern for a majority of consumers today (research from the nonprofit LIFE foundation and LIMRA). Families often struggle to navigate the various long-term care options, while trying to match these choices up with their budget or access financial help. Although states, including Florida, have worked to make accessing long-term care easier for individuals and families, the public benefits system remains confusing for families, especially in times of turmoil.

For all these reasons and more, families should consider getting a geriatric care management assessment when eldercare issues begin to arise. The earlier in the process a family accesses this help, the more opportunity there is to play an active role in choices and save valuable time and money.

How does the geriatric care management assessment help specifically with paying for long-term care?

  • It gives you, your family and the professionals helping you a better picture of the situation (and your preferences) to pursue the right options and save time pursuing unrealistic options.
  • It helps define the costs associated with those options and the resources you have to cover costs and needs (including non-financial resources like assistance from friends, families, non-profit groups, etc.) and possibly creates a budget (and alternative budgets for comparison).
  • It explains the related public benefits you might need to access and the steps to take. Timing and details can be very important to the eligibility process, so understanding those before you get started gives you the best chance to avoid problems. It also makes recommendations for planning professionals and resources, so you have the opportunity to plan ahead.
  • It  takes all the puzzle pieces of a fractured system and puts them together. Geriatric care managers created the profession for this reason. Many of them helped clients in specific settings or with a specific concern, but there was really no one for the family to rely on to bring things together and offer continuity. For most people, long-term care is a journey during which they access different types of care, make various transitions (if not in actual place they receive care, then in the types of services accessed) and have varying needs. The medical, financial, familial and personal situation evolves and often requires multiple resources at any given time to cover the needs. A specific service or provider may conduct an assessment but it tends to only be focused on one aspect or perspective of that long-term care journey.

We have been working on our upcoming presentation for the Florida Conference on Aging, which further details how the assessment can play a valuable role for both families and practitioners, especially as it relates to Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program. Under this program, Floridians now receive Medicaid-covered long-term care services from private, managed care companies. This adds another layer of decision making for individuals and families, furthering the need for the assessment. The independent assessment can also provide valuable information to the care providers involved and help families make more informed choices, which saves time and difficulties for everyone involved.

For those of you who might be attending the 2014 Florida Conference on Aging, we hope to see you at our session! Our workshop, conducted by Senior Care Consultant Susan Talbott, is tentatively scheduled as follows:

Public-Private Partnership: Why an Independent Level of Care Assessment Benefits Providers and Clients

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

You can find the conference information on the Florida Conference on Aging website.

For help with Florida Medicaid and other long-term care needs or to inquire about a geriatric care assessment, give us a call at 727-447-5845 anytime!

 

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What Can You Do To Ensure a Safe Hospital Discharge for Elderly Loved Ones?

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As our previous blog post points out, the hospital discharge process is a key transition time. Without proper support and resources as well as good understanding of follow up instructions, many individuals will return to the hospital for reasons that could have been avoided. No one wants this, and it can be especially dangerous for elders and persons with chronic conditions.

If you are a family caregiver and an elderly loved one is hospitalized what can you do to ensure a safe transition after the hospital stay?

Consider the discharge process as beginning at the start of the hospital stay. Find out who is responsible for discharge planning and introduce yourself, explaining that you will be involved and giving relevant information about the patient’s living situation, supports and concerns. Discharge may not seem like a top concern at the beginning of a hospital stay, but with shorter hospital stay lengths, good groundwork starts as soon as possible.

Keep good records. An online personal medical record system is an ideal way to manage your loved one’s health history, medications, and store key contacts so this information can be readily available. You can also use a notebook or file to store the information, as long as you have it available and provide good information to new providers. Make sure you communicate information that is vital to your loved one’s health, such as medications that really should not be changed or typical complications or concerns that arise during hospitalization or procedures.

Get to know the medical staff and check in about what is going on throughout the stay. Ask questions (and keep records as per above) about procedures, tests, expected outcomes, medications.

Understand that you or a designated patient advocate will need to take charge in being the centralized hub of information. This includes ensuring you understand instructions, what will happen after discharge, and the functional status of the person (and therefore what support might be needed). Ask questions and anticipate concerns that might arise and do not hesitate to voice them.

Consider using a professional patient advocate for consulting or assessment during this process. Aging Wisely’s Care Managers know the discharge process, use a systematic approach and can help families anticipate needs and find resources to help. If you are caregiving from a distance, this support is vital as it is very difficult to manage the discharge process from afar.

Plan for the immediate transition time. The first day or two after discharge can be particularly problematic. Think about practical issues such as getting new medications, food and personal items while needing to attend to a person in a weakened state. Will you be able to help the patient from bed to bathroom? Services such as Medicare home health care and medical equipment rarely arrive immediately and are not meant to fulfill “custodial” needs, so you may need additional home caregiver support.

Find out about the options for services and rehabilitation after the hospital stay. There are essentially three rehabilitation options: inpatient (i.e. at a skilled nursing facility/rehabilitation center), home health care (for someone who is considered homebound) and outpatient rehabilitation (going to a clinic or center to receive therapy). We will cover these in more depth in a future post, including the insurance ins and outs & we invite you to contact us if you have immediate questions.

Ask for thorough discharge instructions in laymen’s terms and explain that you would like to be there when they are reviewed with the patient. Make a list of questions and help ensure you and your loved one are clear on instructions and who to contact if there is a problem later. Here is one example of a simple discharge form that you can provide if the hospital does not have one.

Know your patient’s rights, including the option to appeal a discharge if additional planning needs to be done to ensure a safe discharge.

Our next blog post will contain a checklist of items to consider and ask about when preparing for your elderly family member’s discharge, as well as more on resources to help during the transition of care.

Contact us if you have immediate questions. Our Florida geriatric care managers serve as your professional patient advocate, providing caregiver support and consultation, as well as geriatric assessments and resources.

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