Everyone always asks me, “What is a geriatric care manager? What do you do?” Here is a short scenario to outline the role a typical GCM would play: (from the voice of a client speaking)
It’s 7am , the phone rings, and my mother is calling me to tell me that my father just fell–they don’t know what to do. I tell them to call 911 and then call the GCM who is monitoring their care. I live in South Jersey and my brother and his family live in Europe. We are both long distance caregivers. My mother has mild dementia and both parents have extensive health issues.
My parents call 911 and head in an ambulance to their local hospital. My mother calls the GCM and tells her the story.
The GCM calls their “on-call doctor” on his emergency line to tell them about the fall while my parents are on route to his hospital. The GCM confirms with the doctor that my father’s chart and list of medications can be accessed by the hospital staff. My father has been at this hospital several times this past year. The doctor was introduced to my dad in recent weeks by the GCM so that they would have a house call doctor to use at all times. The GCM and doctor will be able to coordinate care in case of any severe injuries!
The GCM meets my parents in the hospital ER. She gets them coffee and something to eat while my mother is waiting all alone. My father gets x-rays, and they find out that the injuries are minor. The GCM meets briefly with the nurse and doctor in the ER to review the plan of care for my father. My parents are discharged and told to go home and take their morning medications. They are to rest and see their doctor this week. They are given discharge paperwork. My parents remain tired and confused. The GCM is present during this entire time that this is all happening.
The GCM takes them home from the hospital and on the way talks to them about “Lifeline Auto Alert” and how this can be a safe option for them while living at home. They both have a history of falling. Once they are settled back at home, the GCM reviews their medications with them and goes over the hospital discharge paperwork. She encourages them to call their children who are waiting at home, and have been worrying about the fall.
The GCM calls the doctor and sets up a house calls visit. My family members discuss the incident and plans with the GCM by phone and by email. We go on with our lives as usual and wait for the next “crisis” to occur! Together, we thank the GCM and recognize the important role that she plays in all of our lives.
For further information about our home care company and the role of a Geriatric Care Manager you can contact: Garden State ElderCare www.gsecare.com
You can also reach NJ Association of Geriatric Care Managers www.napgcm.org