Nursing Beyond the Bedside: Geriatric Care Management

Geriatric nurses are often looked down upon in the field, but let it be known that geriatric care is a necessity as we see our population living to higher ages than ever before. Indeed, those nurses that care for the elderly are qualified and extremely knowledgeable.

Geriatric care managers, like geriatric nurses, are experienced in the difficulty of elder care and serve as leaders and advocates for family members who find themselves taking care of elderly relatives. They are also well-versed in other disciplines like psychology and social work, necessary fields of knowledge for those taking care of the elderly and disabled. They are generally individually contracted by clients as an expert in knowing everything to consider when helping the aged. A geriatric care manager will often work directly with not only the client and their family, but also attorneys or other legal representatives involved in the client’s affairs.

The services offered by these care managers are invaluable and plentiful. They include (but are not limited to) the following:

Developing Care Plans

Geriatric care managers work closely with the patients, family members, and healthcare professionals to develop and implement a plan of care for the elderly individual. This plan will be custom-made and carefully crafted to suit the individual’s specific needs. Ideally, those who are in charge of most of the care will be present and actively involved in creating the plan. This will involve an in-depth assessment of health, medications, treatments, and available resources.

Housing Services

With the elderly, it is important to make sure that they are living in a home that suits their needs. Geriatric care managers will educate family members and the client on what type of housing they should look for with regard to their particular needs. They will help the family select appropriate housing or find an option for residential care if needed.

Home Care

Once the client is in a  suitable housing situation, the care manager will help the client and family determine what level of home care is needed. This includes whether they need a live-in or daily nurse, and how often those visits will be needed. They’ll also know what needs to be done by the nurse or family member attending to the home care.

Healthcare Management

The geriatric care nurse will work closely with healthcare providers to monitor the client’s health. They will generally help facilitate communication between all involved parties, including doctors, and will also help ensure that the client is making it to any doctor appointments.

Social Life Management

The social lives of geriatric patients aren’t often considered in a plan of care, but geriatric care managers will ensure that the client has a thriving and fulfilling social life insofar as the client is physically capable. Maintaining friendships and participating in recreational activities are crucial for keeping up morale in aging patients.

Family members of the elderly may not always be aware of what laws and protections are available for the elder population. Care managers will act as a middleman between the client/family and attorneys. This helps safeguard against any legal issues that may arise with other healthcare workers and ensures that the client receives the correct level of care.

Financial Assistance

While geriatric care managers do not offer actual financial assistance in the form of cash, they offer their assistance to facilitate anything related to the finances of the client. They may help make sure that bills are paid on time. They may also consult with an accountant and family members regarding the financial status of the client.

Security Services

One of the main issues of geriatric patients who live alone is the need for security. Their age may indicate vulnerability to those that would do harm, so it’s important to have security measures in place. Geriatric care managers can make observations on the security of the home and offer recommendations for security services or home alterations. It is also important to note that the elderly are often victims of scams, abuse, and exploitation and that care managers will take steps to protect clients from becoming victims.

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