Should I Hire a Geriatric Care Manager or a Patient Advocate?

by Carol Marak, Seniorcare.com

A Patient Advocate can assist anyone of any age – not limited to someone who is elderly, or at least over a ‘certain age,’ as a geriatric case manager would be.

A Geriatric Care Manager does not focus strictly on healthcare. Their work is broader with some emphasis on finances, housing, and other aspects of life that change as we age.

Geriatric Care Managers:

  • Serve as stand-in providers when families cannot be around.
  • Conduct care-planning assessments to identify needs.
  • Put a care plan together; executing that plan.
  • Screen and monitor hired personal caregivers.
  • Act as a liaison to families.
  • Assist with moving clients to or from different care settings.
  • Review financial, legal, or medical issues and referring clients to experts.
  • Provide crisis intervention.
  • Provide client and family education.
  • Visit clients on a regular, routine basis to make sure they are safe, doing well, eating properly, and taking needed medications.
  • Make necessary medical appointments and assure client gets to them.
  • Identify agencies and/or social services and other programs that the client can use.
  • Monitor the elder’s finances and paying bills.
  • Home care Safety Check

Patient Advocates:

  • Help navigate all areas of the healthcare industry.
  • Help you research and select the best health insurance.
  • Track paperwork and records.
  • Review medical bills for accuracy.
  • Negotiate medical bills with your providers.
  • File insurance, social security, and disability claims.
  • Dispute and negotiate claim denials.
  • Research diagnosis and all treatment options.
  • Assist you in getting a second opinion.
  • Prepare and accompany you to doctor’s appointments.
  • Provide hospital bedside monitoring.
  • Review your medications.
  • Provide End of Life planning, and assist with the paperwork (i.e. living wills, POST, DNRs, Advance Directives, etc.)
  • Make recommendations for in-home care, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes.

Who Hires a Geriatric Care Manager?

  • Families and adult children of relatives too far away;
  • Banks and trust officers;
  • Physicians and allied health professionals;
  • Attorneys;
  • Hospitals;
  • Social service providers;
  • Gerontology professionals;
  • Senior housing communities.

Here Are the Reasons to Hire a Patient Advocate:

You’re not happy with your doctor and need help finding a new one.

  • You’re in the hospital and have no one nearby to check on you and to make sure the hospital staff is caring for you appropriately.
  • When you’re confused about the medications and concerned about allergic reactions, fear of meds becoming addicting, or interacting with other meds.
  • Need help searching and selecting a specialist.
  • Need help navigating the clinical trial landscape.
  • Need help securing financial resources for treatments.

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