Where do geriatric care managers fit into the health care system?
Today I listened to a presentation about innovations in the delivery of health care. Timothy Ferris, M.D., M.Phil, M.P.H., Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization reported these important results of adding care managers to Massachussets General Hospital (a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School) in a demonstration project: Better patient outcomes and lower costs!
This isn’t surprising to us at Care is There Geriatric Care Management, or to anyone who has accompanied a loved one to a doctor’s appointment or an emergency room.
You can see the results of the Massachusetts General study below (from a slide in Dr. Ferris’ presentation), and you can see Dr. Ferris’ entire presentation here, but most of it is what you’d expect: Patients are healthier and require fewer medical procedures when they have an advocate who has a personal relationship with them, is familiar with their entire situation, coordinates their care, and communicates with their caregivers.
Most health care systems do not include care managers. So patients either have no advocate at all or their loved ones must drop everything in their own lives, learn the health care system as they go, and dodge family dynamics to do the best they can. For senior citizens the situation is often more dire since many patients can’t hear, understand, or remember medical instructions and don’t realize they must provide their own care coordination.
That’s why I founded Care is There Geriatric Care Management. I wanted seniors to have someone standing by their side that would make sure things worked on their behalf. Sometimes our work begins when there is a medical crisis – a broken hip, a stroke, a decline in memory. Or their may be a social crisis — the loss of a spouse or the loss of a driver’s license. Other times a family member will notice that their loved one is forgetting to pay their bills, can’t organize maintenenance on the house, or forgets to fill their prescriptions.
In all these cases we are the advocate for that senior having a life they love by providing gentle, loving, local support to prolong their independence and uplift their dignity.
I believe that someday soon, all health care systems will be centered around the patient with assistance of a care manager. Until then, Care is There is…there!
If you have a loved one in Charlottesville or Staunton Virginia contact me at Care is There and find out what our services can do for you.