The immediate questions: Why? How did it happen? How long will she be there? How quickly can I get there? She’ll be upset, especially being alone. But can I get away right now?
As care managers in geriatrics and dementia care, participating in ER visits is one of our biggest strengths and helps provide peace of mind to the family. We are present throughout the ER visit to answer questions and ask the right ones, especially concerning admission status and medication changes. We stay with our client until the issue is resolved and they return home or are transferred to an overnight room. We provide the hospital staff with medical history and information about current status as well as assist with the care transition at discharge in order to minimize risk of readmission.
A daughter was struggling with the repeated hospitalizations of her 92-year-old mother. The mother was a well-loved school teacher for years, but as she aged dementia strained relationships and made interactions more challenging. The daughter called, looking for help during hospitalizations. Our mutual goal became to not only assist during hospitalizations, but to reduce those visits to the hospital. By conducting regular visits, we noticed when small changes were happening. We then worked with the in-house physician and the ALF staff to alter her care to better meet her needs. With this collaboration, we drastically reduced her frequency of hospitalizations. The few times she went, we were there to advocate and manage the discharge. At her last hospital visit, we worked with the hospitalist to initiate palliative care and a peaceful end of life transition at a hospice house. The best service we offer families is to relieve distress within the family and provide a sense of peace at the end of life.
column by BARBARA HERRINGTON, MA, CMC
The Later Years column is sponsored by All About Aging, LLC.
BIO: Barbara Herrington, M.A., C.M.C., is a certified geriatric care manager and owner of All About Aging, LLC. She holds a Masters degree in Gerontology from USF. For more information, visit www.allaboutagingllc.com or call (863) 557-7604.