Geriatric Care Managers can be of great assistance to physicians in many ways. The Geriatric Care Manager is a professional in assessing the older adults needs, finding, coordinating and monitoring services that are available within the community. Geriatric Care Managers work as a team with the older adult, family members, physicians, community services and other professionals to ensure the older adults needs are being met in the least restrictive environment possible while ensuring quality of services and quality of life.

1-Geriatric Care Managers help ensure medication compliance through doing medication set ups, teaching, attending MD appointments, monitoring medication usage and use of special equipment such as the CompuMed devices when needed. More than 125,000 people die each year from medication non-compliance, twice the number killed in automobile accidents.

Almost 30% of all hospital admissions for people the age of 65 or older are directly attributed to medication non-compliance.

Approximately 40% of people entering nursing homes do so because they are unable to self medicate in their homes.

About one half of the 1.8 billion prescriptions dispensed annually are not taken correctly, contributing to prolonged or additional illnesses.

At present over 7 million households have an unpaid “care giver” who is providing daily assistance to someone age 50 or older.

The numbers are staggering but are expected to keep growing as the population ages. Families and friends are being asked to do more and more many need help – Geriatric Care Managers can provide that help and take on some of the responsibilities so quality time can be spent with loved ones. Often Geriatric Care Managers can relieve the stress of the “caregiver” by allowing them the time to tend to their other obligations with the assurance that the loved ones needs are being met.

2- Physicians are having to see more patients for shorter periods of time and are often being asked to provide advice managing personal care needs or making decisions on if a patient needs to be moved to alternative care setting. Physicians usually are not aware of all the services a community has to offer to the patient nor do they always have a full picture their patients current living arrangements or financial status to give advice. Often the clinic nurse is asked to assist the patient or family find out what is available, but again the clinic nurse may not know all of the services available or what services are truly needed. The usual answer for the clinic is to make a referral to social services for an assessment. Sometimes if the patient meets guidelines for financial assist of county services a social worker will be assigned to the patient and can help families make these decisions.

If the patient doesn¹t meet eligibility for county funding, referrals may be made to various services but the family is still left to find coordinate and monitor these services in order to meet the needs of their loved one. Social Services for some is not the solution but than who can you turn to for assistance? How can your provide your loved one with services that are consistent not fragmented or ineffective that can truly meet your loved ones needs? Geriatric Care Managers are the solution for many because we are professionals specialized in doing these often frustrating, confusing and dreaded tasks.

3- Physicians can benefit by using Geriatric Care Managers as a part of their team of specialist to meet their patients needs and often relieve them of making personal care needs decision, an area in which they may not feel comfortable. Physicians can now offer the family another professional to help make decisions based on the individual need of their patient. Geriatric Care Managers can offer the physician a piece of mind knowing that the patient has a professional to assist in follow through with Physicians Plan of Care.

Home care services were made available to help physicians care for their patient in the most appropriate setting, usually the home, but because of cuts in funding sources home care services are now becoming harder to justify in many instances. The guidelines for receiving home care services under Medicare are becoming more and more strict just as the older population is starting to age and really need the assistance. The older adult and their families can still pay privately for home care services but the cost is usually beyond financial capacity for many in our community. Geriatric Care Managers usually are individuals who are independently operated to stay cost effective for families and assist the older adult and the families take advantage of community resources that can meet their loved ones individual needs in the least restrictive environment of their choice whenever possible. Geriatric Care Managers also bring their own skills and training to the family such as nursing or social work. Federal, State and local government are calling on families to take on the task of care for our aging population Geriatric

Care Managers offer the family a means in which to try and do that safely and effectively.

1-A. Anderson, Update on Patient non-compliance

2-Arch Intern Me. 1990; 841-845

3-Feasibility study, Biomedical Business International, January 1988

4-Medications and the Elderly, CH. 4 pp. 67-68, 75

5- Family Circle6/25/91 pp.46

Copyrighted by Sheri D. Fanning, RN,C