What is a Nurse Geriatric Care Manager?
April 16, 2014
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The career mission of a geriatric care manager (GCM) is to ensure elderly people live as dignified and independent a life as possible. If you like working with older adults, it can be a challenging yet rewarding career. If you are considering your nursing career path, here are some tips about the courses you should take to become a GCM, and what to expect when you get there.
Shoot for an Advanced Degree
Your pathway to becoming a GCM begins with finding a nursing program that meets your personal and professional needs. Schools offer one-year practical nursing diplomas, two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. You can be licensed as a registered nurse with either degree, but the BSN opens doors to advanced nursing degrees such as a geriatric nurse practitioner.
Become an Elder Care Expert
Geriatric nurse practitioners are able to take up the role of geriatric care manager almost seamlessly as you gain extensive knowledge of local, state and national resources. As an expert on Medicare and Medicaid, you will be able to counsel and assist clients on a wide range of care issues, including the following:
- Assessing needs and developing a care plan
- Arranging and monitoring home care
- Finding elder law attorneys for clients
- Assisting clients in finding a gerontologist physician
- Monitoring technologies
- Advocating for clients
- Recognizing elder abuse and neglect
Who You Will Work For
Most GCMs practice as individuals, but there are some who work for agencies. If you work as an individual, you are usually hired after being contacted by the family of an older adult. In that situation, you would be called on to arrange and monitor the appropriate services to help the elderly family member, who could be suffering from physical afflictions and mental health issues. After assessing the situation, you will develop and implement a care plan that could involve housekeeping assistance or finding a facility for the person to be placed in.
Your clients will find you in several ways. Hospital and social services, social workers, elder law attorneys and local referral services such as United Way are just a few of those sources. A great referral source is the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, so it's a good idea to become a member the organization.
Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance policies do not reimburse you for your services, so much of it is privately paid by clients. Although boutique services aren't entirely an accurate label, you should charge anywhere from $50 to $250 per hour for your services. Older adults are the nation's fastest-growing demographic, so the future for caring and skillful GCMs is promising.
Trained to view people from a holistic perspective and practicing with a strong focus on proactive care, nurses make excellent GCMs. An experienced nurse geriatric care manager is a powerful advocate, and you will tenaciously pursue what your patient needs.
Image source: Flickr.