Selecting a Care Manager
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The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) is an organization of practitioners whose goal is the advancement of expert assistance to the elderly and their families. NAPGCM is committed to maximizing the independence and autonomy of elders and strives to ensure the highest quality and most cost-effective health and human services. Through education, advocacy, counseling, and service delivery, NAPGCM members assist older persons and their families to cope with the challenges of aging.
NAPGCM promotes the highest standards of practice. Membership in NAPGCM as a Certified Geriatric Care Manager is open only to qualified individuals with specialized degrees and experience in human services, including social work, psychology, gerontology or nursing, and who hold one of four NAPGCM-approved certifications.
Professional geriatric care managers have diverse experience, education, and backgrounds. Many are licensed in their state in specific fields (such as nursing or social work).
Geriatric Care Managers do not specialize in all areas. When a Geriatric Care Manager says s/he practices “care management,” find out her/his areas of expertise. You will want to hire someone who regularly handles clients with similar needs.
Geriatric Care Managers who primarily work with older adults bring more to their practice than an expertise in geriatrics. They bring knowledge of aging issues that allows them and their staff to overcome the myths relating to aging and to focus on the problems at hand. At the same time, they will bring an experience of working with resources in your community. They are most aware of real life problems, health and otherwise, that emerge as persons age and the tools that are available to address those issues. They are also connected with a community of social workers, nurses, psychologists, elder law attorneys, advocates, and other elder care professionals who may be of assistance to you.
The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers recognizes the following certifications (all of which require testing and continuing education):
- Care Manager Certified (CMC), from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM)
- Certified Case Manager (CCM), from the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC)
- Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM) from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM), from the National Association of Social Workers.
It is important for the wise consumer to ask questions. Some of these include:
- What are the primary services provided by your agency/business?
- How many Geriatric Care Managers are in your agency/business?
- Is there a fee for the initial consultation and, if so, how much?
- What are your professional credentials?
- Are you licensed in your profession?
- Are you a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers?
- How long have you been providing care management services?
- Are you available for emergencies?
- Does your company also provide home care services?
- How do you communicate information?
- What are your fees? (These should be provided to the consumer/responsible party in writing prior to services starting.)
- Can you provide me with references?
The answers to your questions will assist you in determining whether that particular Geriatric Care Manager and agency/business has the qualifications important to you for a successful relationship. If you have a specific issue that requires immediate attention, be sure to inform the Geriatric Care Manager of this during the initial conversation.