A care manager can be an invaluable resource for a family struggling to meet the long term care needs of an older adult.
Care managers are professionals who have expertise in the aging process and in both health care and social service systems. A care manager may be a social worker, nurse or other professional with experience in long term care. Many care managers are knowledgeable about Medicare, Medicaid, PACE, and other programs that can help seniors get and pay for the care they need.
Care managers provide families with expert information and guidance about local resources and supports. And they can act as health care advocates for their clients, working to ensure that the client receives the best care possible whether at home or in a nursing facility.
A care manager’s work typically begins with a comprehensive assessment. In addition to evaluating the client’s physical, functional, and emotional situation and current living arrangements, the care manager can identify and recommend community and private resources that might be helpful. Thereafter they can provide ongoing monitoring and regular reporting to family members.
The services provided by a care manager can help an older adult stay home for as long as possible. And the care manager can serve as your experienced representative and advocate if you need care in a nursing home or other residential facility. For example, a care manager can:
- Link you to the best resources available in the community to provide you with services you need you live independently at home;
- Coordinate the services you receive in the home such as unpaid and paid caregivers, medical equipment and home modifications.
- Help you find ways to pay for the care you need in the most financially sound manner.
- Help you transition as health and functional changes take place.
- Arrange for respite care for your unpaid caregivers – every caregiver deserves a break.
- Serve as the local representative and information source for your distant family members.
- Provide advocacy and support in your dealings with health care providers. This can include critically important representation at care conferences if you are in a nursing home.
- Arrange for expert estate planning including financial planning for Medicaid qualification, powers of attorney, wills and trusts through an experienced elder law attorney.
- Provide assistance with stress and conflicts that can easily arise among family members and coordinate family caregiving.
- Provide regular visits to monitor care and recommend adjustments to the care plan.
- Guide you to the best choice for facility care if care at home is no long appropriate.
- Help families make the best decisions in support of their loved one.
If nursing home care becomes necessary, the care manager can help families solve the many problems that can be encountered. They help ensure that the resident receives appropriate and high quality services that are tailored to the resident’s individual preferences and needs. They serve as health care advocates, attend care planning meetings and work with the resident’s doctors, family and nursing home staff to help create a personalized care plan, resolve problems and conflicts with the facility, and make sure all providers, services and treatments work together to optimize the resident’s health and well-being.
If you live in Northcentral or Northeastern Pennsylvania, within 40 miles of one of the cities of Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton, it’s easy to find a quality professional care manager – just contact one of the care managers at Marshall, Parker and Weber.
If you reside elsewhere, here are some tips for locating the care management help you need. To find a care manager, ask people who are involved in the long term care network. Hospital discharge planners, Alzheimer’s and other support groups, elder law attorneys, and physicians and other health professionals all may be able to refer you to a quality professional care manager in your geographic location.
Care managers will often work closely with an elder law attorney. This is a powerful combination that can help you successfully address a full range of legal, medical, financial, social and family issues. The lawyer and care manager work together to find the best outcomes for families facing a long term care crisis.
Some law firms, such as Marshall, Parker & Weber offer professional care management as a compliment to their legal services. Such law firms are sometimes referred to as “Life Care Planning” firms. You can find a listing of law firms that belong to the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association here.