A professional geriatric care manager in assisted living facilities is an invaluable member of a treatment team, well-versed and educated in various fields of human services, including social work, psychology, nursing, and human development, more specifically, aging. Don’t underestimate the value of these holistic practitioners and the invaluable role that they play in supporting seniors in assisted living facilities, under their charge in and around Hinsdale.
Some important skills that a geriatric care manager brings to assisted living settings include:
Geriatric care managers bring a breadth of education and a fresh, holistic approach to healthcare for the senior clients that they serve. Most of these professionals have their Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) or Public Health Administration (MPH), which are both eclectic curriculums involving practical work experience and experiential learning. Some of the courses found in these programs include psychology, human development, sociology, and communication- all which find their way into assisted living facilities daily.
When a client moves in or out of an assisted living facility– or other type of residential setting- an assessment is completed. In this case, it is often completed by a geriatric care manager who has been able to observe progress notes, ADLs (activities of daily living), and the client on a regular basis. Admissions, transfers, and discharges are typically contingent on an accurate and insightful assessment done by a seasoned practitioner.
Even the best-laid plans don’t always manifest as one would hope, which makes practical problem-solving skills integral. Being able to plan, and re-plan, for situations that arise in the senior’s situation is important in an effort to move clients forward in their care, treatment, or toward goals, such as autonomy or independent living. Planning and making accommodations for unexpected circumstances makes the geriatric care manager a bit of a magician, pulling something out of their sleeve when necessary.
Care coordination is key in order to maintain services, line-up resources, and maintain communication with both formal and informal supports. Geriatric care managers often act as a go-between, voicing the wishes of the client and assisting families struggling to meet the needs of their elderly loved ones. This could include tasks such as lining up transportation to a medical appointment, taking the senior on a social outing, or facilitating a family meeting to discuss current levels of care.
Another pertinent charge of the geriatric care manager in an assisted living situation is to monitor and support the seniors served, which may include managing stress of the client, as well as those closest to them. Many things can cause stress among those that care about the aging parent or loved one, including change of providers, lack of resources, limited access, or simply the aging process, in general. A care manager can help to provide insight, offer practical solutions, and brainstorm coping strategies to move past and go forward.
It’s a big world out there; think of the geriatric care manager as a navigator, of sorts, helping clients and their families traverse through resources, providers, and supports to find what is needed to help the senior thrive. Many areas have limited access to things that are needed, such as transportation or medical treatment and an effective care manager will be able to network and find what is needed, whenever possible, getting the necessary referrals and documentation to make it viable. This takes a lot of pressure off the client, as well as their loved ones, instilling a familial relationship rather than one of caregiver.
Another important duty of a geriatric care manager in assisted living facilities is advocacy, both on personal and community levels. This practitioner builds a trusting rapport with the client by advocating and vocalizing the consumer’s wishes and preferences; this same professional may advocate for legislation that protects the elderly from exploitation or abuse. Becoming an ardent advocate requires knowledge of the social issues facing seniors, as well as the available options, resources, and supports to help these individuals thrive and prosper as they age. Above all, the care manager stands behind the client, making choices in the consumer’s best interests, treating them with respect and honoring the senior’s autonomy above all else.
Geriatric care managers in assisted living facilities, including those in Hinsdale, are an invaluable member of a holistic team, dedicated to supporting and improving the life of the elderly. These practitioners wear many hats and serve as a liaison between the client, family, providers, and area resources; as such, these professionals are integral to effective care coordination for the seniors in their charge.