How do you know who to call, when, where, and under what circumstances, when there are so many titles used for seemingly the same functions?
Perhaps this may help: "A Geriatric Care Manager provides assistance to the elderly and their families when they are faced with problems they are unable to resolve on their own. Many of them have backgrounds in social work or nursing." (1)
There are four types of certifications in the field of geriatric care management:
Care Manager Certified (CMC) issued by the National Academy of Certified Care Managers
Certified Case Manager (CCM) issued by the Commission for Case Manager Certification
Certified Advanced Social Worker in Case Management (C-ASWCM) and
Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM) issued by the National Association of Social Workers
Think of them as Advisors and Consultants. A combination of experience and ongoing education makes the Geriatric Care Manager uniquely qualified to handle the issues associated with aging persons.
When hearing the term "Case Manager", within a hospital, the first person usually associated with the title is a nurse, then, a social worker. However, Case Managers are found in various healthcare settings. In Assisted Living Programs (ALPS), Case management must be provided by ALP staff that meet local state requirements.
The Case Management Society of America defines case management as: "a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual's health needs through communication and available resources to promote quality cost-effective outcomes."
A Case Manager focuses on developing and delivering individualized care plans for improving patient , resident, or client care, by 1) screening the person; 2) planning and ensuring delivery of care; 3) Evaluating results and adjusting the care plan as needed; and 4) Evaluating overall program effectiveness and adjusting the program as indicated.
Professional Social Workers are generally considered those who hold a degree in social work and often also have a license or are professionally registered. The terms Social Worker and Counselor are often used inter-changeably. They are helpful in (smooth) transitioning and problem solving.
The roles of all the professionals discussed in this article often overlap, but a general rule of thumb is that if an individual is in a facility such as a hospital or nursing home/rehab, the Social Worker or Case Manager at the facility is responsible for arranging services. They will find out if the patient had services in the community prior to admission and if so, coordinate with service providers to reinstate the services, the primary goal being a safe discharge plan. Whether it was a first time or repeat admission, the Social Worker will have to determine, along with the doctors, nurses and treatment team, the patient's needs when they go home and arrange for those services.
In an ideal situation, patients and families would disclose any and all information that would enable the providers to collaborate with each other to come up with the best possible plan for the elderly being served.
A Caseworker is someone employed to provide social services, especially to the disadvantaged. Within county governments, the minimum experience for a Caseworker is a Bachelor's degree in any subject. In Departments of Social Services, caseworkers interview applicants to gather personal histories and circumstances of individuals and families in order to evaluate and assess their need for services. They write and keep computerized and printed case records and arrange necessary services in accordance with government laws to those meeting strict eligibility guidelines.
Some of the words that come to mind to describe a caseworker are: Investigator, advocate, organization, referrals, planning, assessment, collaboration, guidance, and finesse - it takes a considerable amount of finesse or sensitivity to enter a person's home and obtain personal information.
As discussed earlier, there are occasions when individuals and/or their families are unable to handle problems on their own, for various reasons. A few reasons for this are physical living distance from the elderly person, health limitations, time constraints, not knowing where to turn, or because arrangements can be complicated.
If they have the resources, they would best be served by hiring a Geriatric Care Manager. To find a Geriatric Care Manager in your local area, visit the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers website: http://bit.ly/9kiVMI. If not, a good starting point would be to contact the local Office for the Aging.
In any case, all of these professionals above are "connectors" to available resources for the elderly.
Maureen Hildebrand has 10 years experience as a Case Manager delivering services to the adult care population in both public and private sectors. She has a Master's in Public Administration with a specialization in government. Maureen is currently working as an Elder Care Consultant based in Putnam Valley, NY and her contact information is email@example.com.
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