Unsure which questions to ask a geriatric care manager before you hire them?
Hiring a geriatric care manager can be a great option for family members or caregivers who aren’t sure how to provide quality care to their aging loved ones. Home care managers work with families to ensure that their loved one receives the care they need as they age.
However, care management agencies may differ in their services, prices, or communication methods. So, before you hire a geriatric care manager, you may want to prepare some interview questions for geriatric care managers.
Do you want to ensure that the geriatric care manager you hire is right for your loved one?
In this article, we’ll provide you with some background information on geriatric care managers and answer the question, “Why hire a geriatric care manager?” Then, you’ll get insight into the top four questions to ask a care manager before hiring them for your loved one.
Keep reading for your guide to geriatric care management and the top questions to ask a geriatric care manager before hiring them.
What Is a Geriatric Care Manager?
Geriatric care managers are elder care professionals who help family caregivers and their elderly loved ones. They often have a nursing degree, social work degree, and/or extensive experience caring for aging adults.
Why Hire a Geriatric Care Manager?
Unsure why hiring a geriatric care manager is beneficial for you or your aging loved one?
Care managers exist to help both family members and their aging loved ones. Here’s some more in-depth information about the benefits of a geriatric care manager for family caregivers and elderly adults.
Geriatric care managers are a great resource for family caregivers. They use their experience in elder care to come alongside family caregivers by:
- Helping to identify the best options for your loved one
- Supporting you through decision-making processes
- Providing you with care resources
- Connecting you with in-home caregivers and overseeing the care process
- Working with you on your family’s care goals
- Assisting with family relationship management
Care managers can also help you with healthcare coordination or senior housing and relocation assistance if you’re unable to handle it for your loved one.
Elderly Loved Ones
When you hire a geriatric care manager, it also benefits your aging loved one.
Geriatric care managers provide whole-person care to elderly adults, meaning they assess your loved one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Then, they create a customized care plan that’s unique to your loved one’s needs. As your loved one ages and their needs change, the care manager will adjust the care plan accordingly.
Many care managers also have the ability to provide specialty care services, like:
- Dementia care
- Chronic disease management
- Transitional care
- Palliative care
Regardless of your loved one’s needs, a geriatric care manager can help provide them with a better quality of life as they age.
So whether you’ve just started looking after a loved one or you’ve already been doing it for some time, talking with a care manager can help alleviate your caregiver burden. But how do know which care manager is right for your loved one?
4 Questions to Ask a Geriatric Care Manager
Now that you know more about what a geriatric care manager is and how they benefit you and your aging loved one, let’s dive into the process of finding and hiring one.
Your first step will be to locate care managers and agencies in your loved one’s area. You can research the agencies through their website, but eventually, you’ll want to talk with the care managers (or agencies) themselves.
As you call different agencies, here are four of the most important interview questions for geriatric care managers and agencies you should ask.
1. What Services Do You Provide?
Right off the bat, you want to make sure the agency offers the services that you think your loved one needs or will need.
For example, if your loved one has dementia, then you’ll want to confirm that the care manager has experience caring for individuals with dementia. Or, perhaps your loved one has a chronic illness and could benefit from palliative care or chronic disease management.
Some of the most common care management services that families benefit from include:
- Senior housing & relocation assistance
- Supportive consulting
- Family relationship management
- Healthcare crisis management
- Coordination of healthcare
- Home safety evaluations
- Life care management
You may not know exactly what care your loved one needs, but finding an agency with these services will most likely suffice.
2. Do You Perform an Initial Assessment? What Is It and How Do You Use It?
After gaining a better understanding of the agency’s services, you’ll want to ask:
- If the agency performs an initial assessment
- What that assessment entails
- What they use the assessment for
For example, Stowell Associates in Milwaukee, WI has been providing geriatric care management to families and their aging loved ones for decades. At the beginning of their engagement with a client, they perform a Person-Centered Care Assessment to understand the client’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Based on the results of the assessment, a Stowell Care Manager can create a tailored care solution for the client that addresses areas of health.
Once the plan is in place, care managers will continue to reassess the client’s health and needs to change the care plan accordingly.
Using an agency that performs an initial care assessment is key. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the care manager to accurately understand your loved one’s needs and ensure they get the care they require to age comfortably.
3. How Do You Communicate with Me and How Often?
Another one of the top questions to ask a geriatric care manager or agency is about communication.
As you talk with them, you’ll want to find out:
- How they will communicate with you (email, phone, an online portal, etc.)
- The frequency with which they’ll connect with you
- How and when you can get in touch with them if needed
Many of the top agencies will see care management as a collaborative process. They’ll involve you in every step of the process so you know what’s going on. And if anything happens or your loved one’s care needs change, they’ll talk you through the process and help you understand your options.
Knowing the agency’s communication policy will give you peace of mind that someone’s actively available to chat if the need arises.
4. How Much Are Your Services, and Does Insurance Cover Them?
Lastly, you’ll want to ask about pricing and insurance, especially long-term care insurance.
Care Management agencies may differ slightly on their prices and rates. Some may charge an hourly fee. Others may have a base or one-time fee you pay each time you talk to a care manager, regardless of the length of your conversation.
Regarding insurance, most regular healthcare plans (including Medicare and Medicaid) usually don’t cover care management services. However, if your loved one has long-term care insurance, many geriatric home care managers will accept this. The only stipulation is that your loved one needs to have had a long-term care policy before they need care management services.
Hire a Geriatric Care Manager for Your Elderly Loved One Today
For family caregivers, there can be a lot of stress involved in caring for an aging loved one.
If you live far from your loved one, you can feel helpless and unsure how to get them the care they need. And even if you live near your elderly loved one, providing quality can be challenging and difficult in the midst of your own personal responsibilities.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.
When you hire a geriatric care manager, they come alongside you to support you and resource you in the caregiving process. They do everything they can to alleviate your burden and ensure your loved one gets the care they need.
Are you ready to connect with a professional geriatric care manager today?
At Stowell Associates, we have a team of experienced care managers ready to empower you in the caregiving process. They take time to talk with you, perform an assessment of your loved one, and craft a personalized care plan. Our Care Managers have training in a wide range of care services and are billed hourly, so you only pay for what you need. They also stay in communication with you throughout the care process and visit with you regularly.
Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor and learn more about the Stowell difference.