What's a typical day like for an elder care coordinator in a Life Care Planning Law Firm? Kyra Clements, one of the elder care coordinators at Elder Law of East Tennessee, a Life Care Planning Law Firm with offices in Knoxville and Johnson City, tells the story in her own words.
The only thing typical about my day is the outcome I’m trying to achieve for my clients. My job is to ensure the best quality of life and the best quality of care for my elderly clients.
Every case is unique. Every day is different. I love that about my job. I do a number of different tasks daily, which may include assisting with discharge plans and helping clients who are returning home from facilities. I make arrangements for durable medical equipment to be delivered, arrange for a home care agency to provide care, and make sure the home will be safe when they return. I am in regular contact with clients and caregivers to monitor the implementation and success of the care plan and make adjustments to it as needed. I assist clients in filing long-term care insurance claims and work in partnership with the firm’s public benefits specialists to get a client qualified for VA or Medicaid. I assist with Department of Labor applications for clients with service-related diseases they developed when working in Oak Ridge, the location of the Manhattan Project. I make referrals to service providers, monitor care needs, assist in placements to facilities, provide caregiver support, or sometimes just provide a listening ear.
Education is a big part of my job. I help family caregivers learn how to handle difficult behaviors or to communicate more effectively with their loved one. I provide caregiver support, serve as an advocate, and teach clients how to be an advocate. This could mean accompanying a family to a care plan meeting at a nursing home or helping caregivers resolve problems with a facility.
There are a few things that happen every day. Our staff has what we call our Daily Standup Meeting every morning. That’s where we talk about what we’re doing that day. Tuesday mornings are reserved for case reviews. That’s where the team gets together to talk about every case and coordinate what needs to be done.
Many days are devoted to new clients. Once a person hires us for a Life Care Plan, the first step is to schedule an initial assessment. This requires a visit to the elder’s residence, wherever that is. I will complete a home inspection, identify safety risks, complete a cognitive and functional assessment of the client, and talk to the client about their goals and values. From there, I create a care plan to meet those goals. The attorneys and public benefits specialists take it from there, finding ways to pay for the solutions I’ve recommended.
Some days are spent guiding families through difficult transitions. For instance, I might meet with a family where the husband just died, and he was the primary caregiver for his wife, who has dementia. The wife can’t live at home safely on her own, and the best option is placement in a long-term care facility. One of the most important things is to find a facility that offers the right environment for the person who needs care. Fit is everything. To achieve that, I’ll walk alongside the family through every step of the process.
I’ve been working as an elder care coordinator since 2016 and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love being part of a team dedicated to making life better for older adults.