Senior Care Lifecycle - Finding the Right Blend of Services
How to create a better quality of life at home with elevated care practices.
By now, most people in the United States are aware that the current growth of the population ages 65 and older is one of the most significant demographic trends in the history. Based on the U.S. Census, the baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011 and are driving the growth of the senior population. So just how many baby boomers are there? When the first baby boomers turned 65 in 2011, there were just fewer than 77 million people in this population!
As we move from 2011 to the present, it is clear that more and more families are providing care for aging parents. Many are struggling to balance their caregiver responsibilities with their own lives, professional work responsibilities and perhaps the needs of their own children - many of which are still living at home. Caregiver stress, depression and burnout are a real possibility and so it is important for families to be aware of support services that can help.
With a rising demand for senior care, many families will likely need assistance in identifying healthcare professionals and qualified caregivers to assist in the Senior Care Lifecycle.
More often than not, families tend to delay making a decision on the best residential care option for a loved one even though the day of not being able to provide care independently is near. In most cases, long-term residential care options will include home care, assisted living or a nursing home. Typically, such a decision is preceded by a period of noticeable decline in health. During that period, a variety of events or conditions can contribute to one’s health decline or inability to remain independent. Some common examples include the development of cognitive impairment such as dementia, a fall due to a decrease in physical ability, a debilitating illness or the development of a chronic condition.
When it becomes clear that a loved one is no longer able to live alone entirely unassisted, many family members are uncertain of how to identify or take advantage of available services in the community. If funds are available, one means for optimizing senior care is to leverage home care + geriatric care services together. When combined, home care and geriatric care aim to accomplish the following objectives:
• Increase patient satisfaction: According to research by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as ‘aging in place.’
• Address health goals: Engagement with patients helps provide broad-based educational initiatives as well as the presentation of meaningful services to help empower seniors in managing their own disease state or illness.
• Reduce care costs: Transitioning care, especially for patients requiring ongoing care, from a facility to one’s home typically lowers costs for patients, payers and health care systems.
Unforeseen events like a sudden fall, stroke or illness are not something people would likely plan for. With limited time to respond, families require access to immediate and accurate information. Demonstrating a genuine willingness to educate seniors on all options is truly the foundation for success.
Over the years, Boardwalk Homecare has collaborated with geriatric care management companies such as Senior Care Options to assist seniors at all stages of the Senior Care Lifecycle. The result has established a more complete understanding of organizational capabilities as well as an awareness of how to rely on each other for the betterment of the patient. Developing an effective communication plan with each other, the patient, the family and the caregiver is an integral piece for creating a higher quality of life at home.
GCM + HCM Expectations When it comes to providing services, safety and comfort in the home, geriatric care management tends to assist seniors through the lens of a telescope. Companies like Senior Care Options are proficient at viewing the full range of needs for seniors at a distance which might include areas such as counseling, Medicaid services, physician selection, move assistance, money management, etc. Being able to apply problem-solving techniques along the way to offer solutions becomes paramount in helping seniors age in place.
On the other hand, home care management tends to assist seniors through the lens of a microscope. Companies like Boardwalk Homecare have hyper-focused expertise in helping seniors comprehend all aspects of home care. Being proficient at managing expectations, introducing effective policies and offering case management are equally important in establishing a meaningful relationship between the patient and the caregiver.
GCM + HCM Benefits When seniors experience difficulty in managing personal affairs on their own, exploring geriatric and home care management is usually the first logical step. Even if one’s need for assistance is not imminent, gathering information about potential services and resources will help alleviate much of the anxiety felt during an unexpected event or a period of health decline. Some of the benefits in blending geriatric care and home care management include:
• Redundancy: As both types of organizations follow steps in the Senior Care Lifecycle, families can be comforted in knowing there is an increased level of patient advocacy to address present and future patient needs. • No Conflict of Interest: While collaborative care is the optimal goal, geriatric care and home care organizations have a responsibility of making sure their patient receives the highest quality of care. This obligation creates a natural system of ‘checks and balances’ which again is beneficial to the patient.
• Caregiver Accountability: The home care organization is responsible for managing the home care plan as well as supervising the competence of the home health aide. That said, there is a lot of value in also having regular patient involvement from a geriatric care manager. They provide a second pair of eyes and ears and are in a good position to provide caregiver and/or patient feedback to the home care organization.
• Patient Centered Care: The IOM (Institute of Medicine) defines patient-centered care as: “Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” Picker Institute and Harvard Medical School have created a useful illustration below.
Based on experiences, the authors of this article believe that blending geriatric care management and home care management can elevate care practices and increase the quality of life at home for seniors wishing to age in place. For further assistance, feel free to contact Boardwalk Homecare at (877) 341-6797 or Senior Care Options at (732) 872-8882.
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