Life Care Management
What is Life Care Management?
As the baby boomers begin the journey into life’s later years, they look forward to more time to spend with family and friends, more opportunities for travel and leisure, and more time for the activities that give them personal fulfillment. They will find as their age increases, so does frailty and often the complexity of their health care. The baby boomers will also find a healthcare system is more complex than ever before.
Life Care Management Looks at a Person Holistically
Health makes up only part of an individual’s overall well-being. A person’s happiness, living conditions, and finances all contribute to a well-rounded quality of life. As Life Care Managers, we take all aspects of a person’s life into account when helping them plan for the future.
Our process starts with an assessment to understand the client’s medical, environmental, psychosocial and financial needs. The Managing Director and Registered Nurse Advocates have special training to help them fully assess the client’s situation and determine what services will help that individual live the fullest possible life.
The Managing Director is the foundation of the life care management team. The Managing Director watches over each client’s case to ensure the plan of action is being implemented appropriately and consistently with the client’s wishes. To handle the client’s day-to-day needs, or should the client require assistance with their finances, our Personal Needs Coordinators is the skilled expert handling these matters for our clients. To meet the medical needs and navigate the healthcare challenges our clients face, an experienced Registered Nurse will act as our client’s patient advocate. In addition to serving as a patient advocate, our Registered Nurse Advocates are often called to perform various assessments. These assessments can range from cognitive assessments to safety assessments to medication assessments. We currently have 35 assessment tools that we can use to help our clients maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.
Life Care Management Assesses Safety & Living Environments
One of our most important responsibilities we have to our clients is ensuring their living arrangements meet their needs and are safe. During an environmental assessment, we determine the client’s optimal living situation by evaluating their mobility, physical strength, cognitive ability, and other factors to ensure the highest degree of safety and best possible quality of life is being achieved by their living environment. If a client’s living needs are best met by living in a community setting, we will consider the client’s financial situation, personality, and likes when making a recommendation. Our work with the client doesn’t end once we have helped them find community living arrangements. A Registered Nurse Advocate, or the Managing Director, will routinely check in with the client to support their adjustment to their new home. Additionally, we will perform unannounced quality assurance checks to assure the staff is consistently and appropriately honoring the client’s wishes while addressing their physical, well-being, and medical issues.
Life Care Managers Coordinate the Delivery of Services
Service coordination is perhaps one of the most important life care management services we perform. While service coordination has typically meant coordinating healthcare services between providers, life care managers look beyond a client’s health needs and coordinate all the services that help an individual maintain a high quality of life. Our Personal Needs Coordinators and Managing Director know many of the service providers in the community, and we can help clients or their family’s vet a wide range of service providers. From providers to care of the yard, provide home repair services, or make upgrades to the home, life care managers will manage the delivery of all of our client’s essential life services. We know the local home care providers and can help select a home care agency to prepare meals, arrange transportation and provide any number of in-home care services a person might need.
When a client can safely age in place, a Registered Nurse Advocate or Managing Director will help select necessary services to support independent living. This can range from hiring a home care agency for companion care services to finding a service provider to remove snow during the winter and tend to the lawn in the summer. Our Registered Nurse Advocates can help with minor home changes, such as adding non-slip pads under rugs or moving cords out of the way to minimize tripping hazards. Should more intensive home modifications be required, our Personal Needs Coordinators can assist in vetting contractors, collecting bids and performing on-site quality assurance as the work is being done.
Beyond Care Management: Our Personal Needs Coordinators
Unlike many care management or case management providers, we go beyond helping clients manage their health — we work with clients to manage their finances, too. Understanding our client’s financial situation enables us to make recommendations suitable for the financial situation. In some instances, we can help clients enroll in government benefit programs, or get them assistance with their prescription medications. Our financial assessments can also uncover financial abuse or exploitation, or help individuals take steps to avoid becoming a victim of predatory behavior. These services don’t take the place of the services a financial planner can provide, and in some instances, we may recommend a client work with a financial planner to ensure they have a financially sound future. Life care management varies from person to person, but regardless of our client’s needs, we always adhere to our core tenet: helping older adults and individuals with disabilities live life to its fullest potential and with dignity.