Choose a GCM carefully. The field of geriatric care management is relatively unregulated and many people without specialized training identify themselves as care managers, care coordinators or care advisors. Therefore, it’s wise to screen candidates to ensure that you’re working with a person qualified in this new profession.
- Ask about candidates’ training, education and background in care management and geriatrics. Ask how long they’ve been a GCM and whether they belong to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers or any other professional associations.
- A care manager’s ability to be responsive is important. Ask candidates what their average response time is to return calls from clients and their families. Have them describe their communication system: Do they use pagers, portable phones, an answering service or voice mail? Learn about their agency’s size, hours and staff composition. How are after-hours emergencies handled? What are the back-up systems for covering vacations and days off? Will you and your parent work with one GCM or several?
- Determine the scope of the GCM’s practice. Some GCMs or agencies specialize in assessments and care consultation but typically don’t follow people on an ongoing basis. An assessment is a thorough review of the client’s physical, medical and mental status, and financial resources. It’s important that the GCM’s practice setting and specialties meet your needs and your parent’s.
- Investigate the GCM’s track record and reputation. Ask for letters of reference or names of previous clients you may contact. Is the GCM active in professional associations? Does the GCM perform volunteer work?
- While there are no licensing requirements for GCMs, there are certification programs. Ask each candidate you interview if he or she is certified, and by whom.
- Confusion about fees and billing can be a problem. Be sure you understand the GCM’s billing rates and how charges are calculated. Fees vary depending on the GCM’s work setting — private practice, public agency or private non-profit agency.
- Get a written service agreement that outlines the fee structure and practices.
- Ask GCM candidates if they subscribe to a code of ethics or are guided by professional standards of practice. Get a copy of the standards. They should deal with the right to privacy, fiduciary responsibilities, full disclosure, fostering self-determination, fees, continuing education and professional relationships.
- Ask how complaints are handled.