Tucson, AZ (PRWEB) December 07, 2012
A study released on October 5, 2012 from a Congressional Advisory board announced the staggering statistic that 60 percent of all Medicare beneficiary visits to emergency rooms -- and 25 percent of their hospital admissions-- were “potentially preventable.”
The most common diagnosis for all of these ER visits was upper respiratory infection. Congestive heart failure was the most common diagnosis for admissions.
Families and older adults could avoid the majority of these visits through understanding medical instructions, such as following specific medical regimes and special diets as well as having access to medical professionals as soon as symptoms arise.
These somewhat simple instructions need support and advocacy by healthy family members or community professionals – such as professional Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) or Medical Home programs.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides a number of new tools and resources to help improve health care and lower costs by improving care coordination and avoiding hospital readmissions for all Americans. Such initiatives can help improve health, improve the quality of care, and lower costs. For instance, since passage of the ACA the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center has started to implement several new ACA models such as the Accountable Care Organization program, the Bundled Payments Initiative, and the Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospital Admissions for Nursing Facility Residents. GCMs are another innovative model.
Understanding medical instructions takes time, especially for the very old and sometimes for the spouses of these patients. Time is generally not a luxury most medical clinics or even hospital discharge staffs are able to give.
Another complicating issue is the number of individuals with cognitive decline – about 50% of those over 85 have dementia and these individuals need extra support.
GCMs can be that resource to families and older adults, making sure they understand instructions and they get primary care physician clarification that can be communicated to the patient in a way that is understood and followed. The GCM can assist in setting up ways to monitor health using technology as well as home care assistants and keep the patient connected to the medical group by assuring compliance with appointments as well as by following necessary daily routines.
Research from many studies focuses on the critical role a “Care Coordinator” or “Care Manager” can play for individuals with these types of diagnosis. Hospitals that are now being penalized for readmissions are looking for community partners and relationships with those who provide this type of support to ultimately reduce these hospitalizations.
Families can hire GCMs to support their aging parents. Some communities may have resources to provide the oversight that is needed to bring about better health and quality of life for the Medicare patient that are low cost or part of grant funding.
Geriatric Care Managers are part of a support network that are knowledgeable about the resources in their communities, and can anticipate needs and be there for the elderly when the family cannot. They can hire and supervise hourly or live-in caregivers as well. Their involvement can give the distant family an assurance that the right people are there to help. To locate a professional Geriatric Care Manager in your area, please visit: http://www.caremanager.org.
The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who have extensive training and experience working with older people, people with disabilities and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist older adults, who wish to remain in their homes, or can help families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. The practice of geriatric care management and the role of care providers have captured a national spotlight, as generations of Baby Boomers age in the United States and abroad.
A Geriatric Care Manager is a health and human services expert, such as a social worker, counselor, gerontologist, or nurse, with a specialized body of knowledge and experience related to aging and care issues. A Geriatric Care Manager assists older adults and persons with disabilities in addressing issues related to their health, psychological, functional, and legal/financial status. In addition, the GCM coordinates ongoing care and serves as an experienced guide and resource for families of older adults and others with chronic needs. The GCM respects the autonomy of the individual, services with sensitivity, and supports the dignity of each individual.
Geriatric care managers who are members of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) are committed to adhering to the NAPGCM Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. For more information or to access a nationwide directory of professional geriatric care managers, please visit http://www.caremanager.org.