Over the past couple years on more than one occasion I have talked about what a geriatric care manager (GCM) is. Even though the national association that accredits professional geriatric care managers (NAPGCM )is about 30 years old, the question of what we are still comes up. But there is more you should know about a care manager if you are one of the caregivers or family members looking to engage a geriatric care manager to help with your loved one. Here are eight questions I recommend you ask anyone you are considering for your circle of care.
- What are your credentials? A GCM should also have other training or credentials like a rehabilitation degree, nursing diploma or social worker license in addition to being certified as a GCM. Ask about that.
- Are you certified or licensed? Are they a certified geriatric care manager or simply providing services to older adults? Just as you would not want a lawyer who did not pass the bar or an accountant who did not have a CPA, you would not want just anyone who claims they “care for older people.” You can visit the Association web site to see the standards; check the link above and also look for the logo on their web site.
- How long have you been providing elder care? There is no magical number of years, but you should decide how much experience gives you confidence and comfort that mom or dad will be in good hands
- What about emergencies? You are not looking for a paramedic when you engage a care manager, but you need the peace of mind that your local resource can help in case of an emergency.
- Does your company have any “relations” with other service providers? You definitely want someone who knows area resources like home care or senior residential communities. But be careful of anyone who may receive pay for referrals or who may simply steer you to their own services.
- How will you communicate with me? This really is about what you want. Do you want a regular call, calls after medical appointments, routine e-mails or some other communication that will answer your questions and give you peace of mind?
- What are your fees? First, you should receive a written document or contract with the fees and billing policies laid out. An article in the Wall Street Journal a few years back said that the national range of $80-$200 provided a “good buy” considering everything a GCM can do for a family.
- Can you provide references? This will help you to get it in the “customers’ own words” from someone who has been in your shoes. You can also look for certification by the Better Business Bureau.
Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Case Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to Charlotte Bishop.