At Support For Home Health Care, we are proud to be a Lifetime member of the ElderCare Matters Alliance. You may want to check out the Website. It is a great resource. We are even prouder to be part of the “Ask an Expert” panel members, answering questions from folks who have areas of concern about senior care and the aging experience.
One of the other experts, Marty Siegel, recently answered the following question:
How do I designate someone to administer my ongoing health care? For example, I need someone to help me administer my prescriptions – not a Health Care Proxy, per se.
Marty’s answer is a good one:
One of the important steps in estate planning is to designate a Health Care Proxy, also called Health Care Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate. Typically this is a family member that can make important medical and care decisions in the event of illness or incapacitation. However in many cases, the Health Care Proxy is a busy working professional and may live far away. As such, they may not be able to effectively handle a barrage of detailed care issues when their relative becomes ill, and turns to community resources for assistance.
In the short run, it may be possible to hire personnel from a Home Care Agency or Nurse Registry to handle specific tasks related to these health and care issues. These individuals typically have training and have earned the qualifications of either certified Home Health Aide (HHA) or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). They work inside the home on either an hourly or live-in basis, and can assist you with tasks such as standing by when dressing or showering, meal preparation, transportation, shopping, and reminders to stay on track with medications.
In the long run, as issues become more complex, there is a second level of assistance that can be very effective in coordinating and administrating care. Seniors need a cohesive care plan to live as safely and independently as possible, and someone to be their advocate “quarterback” of this care plan. This advocate helps them understand the medical and care resources available, helps them navigate the system, and obtains the best care for the best price. Although not yet widely known, this type of advocate does exist, and is called a Geriatric Care Manager. You may hear them referred to under other similar names such as Patient Care Advocate or Elder Care Manager. These professionals are typically a Registered or Practical Nurse or Social Worker who have extensive experience dealing with medical and psycho-social issues common to the aging process.
More seniors are choosing the route of staying in their own homes and living independently for as long as possible. At the same time, given our political and economic landscape, our Medicare system has been and will continue to feel the effects of cost cutting. These developments make it even more important for seniors to have a solid plan of care and to carefully select family members and third parties that can help them navigate the system, receive the best care, and squeeze the maximum possible out of their Medicare, long term care, Medicaid, and veteran benefits.
Good job, Marty, and good job ElderCare Matters Alliance – a great resource for families and seniors, as wells as those of us in the industry.
If you would like to talk with us about Geriatric Care Management, or any other issue in the aging experience, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes. Bert