Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Not To Hire A Geriatric Care Manager (Part 2)

So I hired a GCM to take care of Mom in Florida as my surrogate.

She charged $25 an hour for her Geriatric Care Management service and, at first, I was happy to pay it. The woman came highly recommended, was a member of the GCM professional association, and she lived near Mom. She sounded personable and intelligent on the phone. What more could I ask?

Surprisingly, Mom continued to sound receptive to such assistance, and so I set up her first appointment. The GCM did an initial assessment interview and provided a written report that recommended engaging her for ongoing guidance and assistance. She felt that Mom needed someone nearby to confide in and to analyze why she alienated others. She also said that Mom had definite symptoms of early dementia.

Here are some of the services I was promised by this GCM:

• Management of personal affairs, including referrals to financial, legal and/or medical professionals, as necessary.
• Care-planning assessments.
• Coordination of in-home services, if and when needed.
• Crisis intervention.
• Counseling and support.
• Weekly communication with me.

Sounded wonderful. The last item, communication, was from my point of view the most important single benefit of the service I thought I was buying. And for the first month or so, the GCM did stay in touch, maybe not weekly, but often enough so that I had a sense of what was happening with Mom.

Gradually, though, the services provided by the GCM began to change. To find out how, stay tuned for the next post.

Bob Tell
Author, "Dementia-Diary, A Caregiver's Journal"