You will want to establish a relationship with a professional who will partner with you, your loved one and other healthcare/legal professionals. The ideal Care Manager will have the education, experience, dedication and integrity to help you to find the best solutions for all involved.
Here are some key issues to consider as you select the right Geriatric Care Manager (GCM).
- Education and Expertise
- A Geriatric Care Manager should have an undergraduate or graduate degree in nursing, social work, counseling or gerontology. Special training in related fields, such as psychiatry and geriatrics and at least five years experience in the field are all important.
- Local Knowledge and History
- To offer you the most options, a Geriatric Care Manager must be familiar with a wide range of services and resources in the area. The longer an agency has served an area, the more likely they are to know resources and be known as a trusted partner.
- Competing Interests
- Some agencies offer services, such as home care, as well as Care Management. An independent Care Management agency is in the best position to partner with you in finding the best possible resources, since there is no conflict of interest.
- Professional Affiliations
- Affiliation with professional organizations indicates a commitment to the field as well as involvement in continuing growth and learning. Professional societies which focus on relevant issues include the American Society on Aging, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and the National Gerontological Nursing Association.
- There is no state or national licensing agency for geriatric Care Managers, so Care Managers are most often licensed in their field of education, such as nursing or social work. Care Managers can receive certification through the National Academy of Certified Care Managers or the Commission for Case Management Certification.
- Since only a limited number of insurance policies cover the services of a Geriatric Care Manager, it is important to have a clear understanding of the cost of services. Be sure to clarify hourly rates, fee structure, inclusions/exclusions, minimum charges and payment arrangements.
- Talk to at least one client reference and one professional (healthcare or legal) reference. Ask about all aspects of their experience, including what they found most helpful and any disappointments or disagreements.
For additional information as well as questions to ask, read Geriatric Care Managers - Your Link to Better Care, written by ECS cofounder Signe Gleeson, R.N.C., M.S.