Perhaps the most iconic role of the Care Manager is that of client visitor and monitor. In many cases, the Care Manager is the ONLY person who visits an elderly person from outside the confines of the home, assisted living facility or nursing home.
Families who live afar, who cannot make frequent visits to an aging loved one are comforted by the knowledge that a Care Manager is visiting frequently and can report to them happy news and/or concerns.
During a Care Manager’s visit, they will review the medical records to supervise care, and inventory the client’s room and closets to make sure that the clothing and personal belongings are accounted for. If something is missing, they will make every attempt to find it or have it replaced.
The Care Manager will spend time speaking with the client and may even participate in an activity with them to help them socialize. One recent client was feeling very negative about her new nursing home. She struggled to make friends and the other residents avoided her. Over a period of weeks the Care Manager brought in cookies and other items to share with the other residents. The client was then viewed as a giving, generous and friendly person. Soon the client had a new group of friends. The nursing staff reported that the client was cooperating more with the staff and was more verbal and happier. One client who had an aversion to being touched, improved so much with our interactions that she allowed a dentist to clean her teeth.
For many, food is a form of love. The Care Manager can bring beloved foods from favorite restaurants to brighten a client’s day. One client of V.I.P. Care Management looks forward to the Bar-B-Q ribs we bring every week. Another client wants Matzoh Ball soup from her favorite deli.
Many clients enjoy pet therapy visits from one of our service animals. We have seen some of our withdrawn, nonverbal clients begin speaking again when they receive regular visits from a companion animal.
Much research has been done on the power of touch and love when it comes to the care of any living being. Our clients know that they are not forgotten, and we will visit regularly to make sure they always have a voice and never feel disconnected. Clients have our phone numbers so they can call us when they need to talk. If our clients are amenable to touch we may hold their hand, touch their arm and convey to them that we genuinely care. This is the MOST IMPORTANT work of a Care Manager.
Care Managers at V.I.P. Care Management are non-medical professionals, however, because we know our clients so well, we are often the first to notice a change in color, breathing, voice, energy level, speech, swelling and other early indicators of a medical issue. We can alert the medical team early to address any problems we notice quickly.
There are many elements that make up Quality of Life for an elderly person who requires the care of others. Each client has their own idea of what makes life worth living for them. For some it may be watching live performances, traveling to see a sister, eating favorite foods. For others is may be friendship, solitude or having the news on television 24/7. For others it is communicating with their distant children on FaceTime during the Care Manager’s visit.
It is the job of the Care Manager to enhance our client’s Quality of Life when the challenges of age and infirmity has caused their world to shrink. This cannot be achieved with modern technology alone. It must be done with the irreplaceable life to life connection that can only come from a personal visit from a Care Manager and others.