Healthcare Case Managers

It’s common for seniors to live far away from their children or other family members. If the senior is receiving assistance from a home health agency or Medicaid program, it’s possible that a social worker or case manager will be able to assist him in accessing services. However, the assistance is usually limited to the amount of time that the senior is receiving help from that specific program. Families aren’t always able to drop everything and fly to the senior’s side to be with him for doctor’s appointments, emergencies in the home, etc, yet they still would like to stay informed help to protect him.

It’s possible to hire a private case manager, social worker, or agency to assist in linking the senior to available programs and services that can make it easier to maintain his independence. It’s also possible to find a Geriatric Care Manager, which is a new field with its own licensure that provides case management services to seniors. The case managers will conduct home visits, ensure that the living area is clean and the senior is well cared for – all the while remaining in contact with the family. These case managers can act on behalf of the family while a senior is in a nursing home, attending patient care conferences and visiting on a regular basis. They can even accompany the senior to doctor’s appointments and oversee his medical care.

The assistance isn’t limited to ensuring that seniors receive certain services; a case manager can also ensure that the senior and his family aren’t taken advantage of by providers. It’s common for families to agree to sign a senior onto hospice services after being contacted by a marketing person who receives a commission for every patient they sign. Families will believe it’s necessary because they’re told that the senior’s physician referred the hospice when, in reality, it’s possible that the hospice heard about the senior and contacted the doctor. Hospice marketers often tell the doctor that it is what the family wants and the senior will be coerced into agreeing to receive hospice services. A private case manager can ensure that the senior is aware of what he’s signing and that he will benefit from the service – and can advise the family as to what is happening with their family member.

Many providers look at case managers as interfering with the senior’s care – if this is the case, it might be necessary to find another provider. These professionals act on behalf of the family and the patient, and can work with the providers to ensure that the senior’s needs are met.

There are many different ways to locate a case manager for your family member; the best is to look in the senior’s local phone directory or search online for a private case manager in the area in which the senior lives. There are also medical directories in many areas, but remember that the way a provider becomes listed is to pay for an advertisement – this excludes any case manager who isn’t willing to pay the advertising rate. Private case managers can be a valuable tool in ensuring that your family member receives appropriate care and that you are kept in the information loop.