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Geriatric Care Managers Help Physicians, Support Seniors and Caregivers

An Interview with Peter Silin, Geriatric Care Manager

ElderWise: What is a "Geriatric Care Manager?"

Peter Silin:
Professional Geriatric Care Managers are individuals from the fields of Nursing, Gerontology, Social Work, and Occupational or Physiotherapy, who have taken on the role of meeting the needs of the elderly and their caregivers and family members.

We use our skills in assessment, care planning, monitoring care, and resource location. We help to find appropriate housing and to oversee the move and relocation. We use our professional training, experience and knowledge to advocate for our clients with the system.

We liaise with physicians, hospitals, and the long term care system. Given the limited time available for physicians to monitor elderly patients, a professional Geriatric Care Manager is a good resource for helping patients to get the best medical care possible.

EW: What are some specific tasks that the Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) will undertake?

Silin: Coordination of needs and continuity are important aspects of our role. We can be instrumental in making sure that medications are properly taken, that appointments with physicians are made and instructions carried through. The GCM watches for changes in a client's condition and then finds the resources to deal with the specific need; for example, a physiotherapist or a wound care specialist. The manager will monitor the activities of home support workers or live-in caregivers. With the client's permission, we may liaise with an accountant to make sure taxes are done, and with the financial advisor or bank trustees to make sure money is spent appropriately on the person's care

EW: How do Geriatric Care Managers assist the family?

Silin:
  Sometimes families come to us in a crisis and need help in decision making. Often they come to us for a consultation regarding planning for care and living arrangements in the near or distant future. We often provide counselling or mediation to family members, as well as to the elderly clients themselves.

Care Managers are especially helpful to out of town families, to those caregivers who are pulled in competing directions by work or nuclear family, or when a senior has no family to help. We interpret for family members in an accurate way what the physician may have told the patient. Equally important, because the Care Manager sees the client in the community and home, this professional can report accurately back to the physician regarding the health status and functioning of the client.

Vol. 6, No.1, © Peter Silin 2010.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, has worked in all areas of eldercare. Peter is the founder of Diamond Geriatrics, a published author, and speaker. He is a frequent speaker to business and the public. Peter is the author of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living: The Family's Guide to Making Decisions and Getting Good Care. 2nd Edition. For more information, visit www.diamondgeriatrics.com

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