What is Professional Geriatric Care Management?
Geriatric Care Management, also known as Aging Life Care, is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, the expertise of Geriatric Care Management Professionals provides the answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
- Assessment and monitoring
- Planning and problem-solving
- Education and advocacy
- Family caregiver coaching
What is a PCGM? (Professional Geriatric Care Manager)
A Professional Geriatric Care Manager, also know as an Aging Life Care Professional is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. The PGCM is educated and experienced in any of several fields related to aging life care / care management, including, but not limited to nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care.
The PGCM assists clients in attaining their maximum functional potential. The individual’s independence is encouraged, while safety and security concerns are also addressed. PGCMs are able to address a broad range of issues related to the well-being of their client. They also have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of resources in their communities.
How can a Professional Geriatric Care Manager help me?
Health and Disability
From physical problems to mental health and dementia-related problems, Geriatric Care Managers interact with the health care system effectively and frequently. They attend doctor appointments and facilitate communication between doctor, client, and family. These professionals help determine types of services – including home health and hospice – that are right for a client and assist in engaging and monitoring those services.
Services may include referrals for fiduciary services, reviewing or overseeing bill paying or consulting with a client’s accountant or Power of Attorney. Aging Life Care Professionals provide information on Federal and state entitlements, connecting families to local programs when appropriate. They also help clients and families with insurance concerns, claims, and applications.
Geriatric Care Managers help families and clients evaluate and select appropriate level of housing or residential options.
Geriatric Care Managers help families adjust, cope and problem-solve around long-distance and in-home caregiving, addressing care concerns, internal conflicts and differences of opinion about long-term care planning.
Geriatric Care Managers know the local resources in their communities like the back of their hands and know how services are accessed.
Geriatric Care Mangers are strong and effective advocates for clients and their families, promoting the client’s wishes with health care and other providers, ensuring that client’s needs are being adequately addressed.
Geriatric Care Managers refer to legal experts, like elder law attorneys, estate planners, and Powers of Attorney.
Geriatric Care Managers offer crisis intervention when it is needed, helping clients navigate through emergency departments and hospitalizations, rehabilitation stays, and ensuring that adequate care is available to the client. For families that live at a distance, this can be a much-needed emergency contact.
Local, cost-effective resources are identified and engaged as needed.
A care plan tailored for each individual’s circumstances is prepared after a comprehensive assessment. The plan may be modified, in consultation with client and family, as circumstances change.
How do you know that you need a Professional Geriatric Care Manager? (PGCM)
When caregiving for an aging family member becomes overwhelming, it may be time to contact a Professional Geriatric Care Manager.
You may need a PGCM if the person you are caring for:
- has multiple medical or psychological issues
- is unable to live safely in their current environment
- is not pleased with current care providers and requires advocacy
- is confused about their own financial and/or legal situation
- has limited or no family support
- is exhibiting evidence of physical or financial abuse, neglect or exploitation
- has medications that are mismanaged
- has mail or bills left to pile up
- has personal hygiene issues; or wearing the same clothing over and over again
- has food in the refrigerator that is uneaten or spoiled
Or if your family:
- has just become involved with helping the individual and needs direction about available services
- is either “burned out” or confused about care solutions
- has limited time and/or expertise in dealing with the individual’s chronic care needs and does not live close by
- is at odds regarding care decisions
- needs education and/or direction in dealing with behaviors associated with dementia