Not everyone understands what an elder care coordinator in a Life Care Planning Law Firm does. One of the biggest misconceptions involves the role the elder care coordinator plays in the delivery of care to an older adult. Steven Rubin, a Certified Elder Law Attorney and partner at Drazen Rubin Law, a Life Care Planning Law Firm in Milford, Connecticut, sees this confusion all the time. “I've seen home care agencies who have been afraid to work with our firm because they think our elder care coordinators are providing hands-on care,” Steven explained. “That’s not the case.”
Sometimes the problem originates with the family and their confusion about what an elder care coordinator’s role will be. “One of our Life Care Planning clients was working with our elder care coordinator and the owner of the family’s home care agency started acting like we were his competition on the care side,” Steven explained.
“This home care agency owner was thinking that we were going to be interfering with his caregivers and that we were planning to handle the client’s medication management. Fortunately, I was able to explain that we weren’t his competition at all. Our primary objective is to work together to make sure that our mutual client’s goals are met and that they're getting the appropriate level of care.”
Elder care coordination is a relatively new concept, one that many still don’t understand. “Based on what I've seen in Connecticut, the concept of an elder care coordinator or geriatric care manager can mean a lot of things,” Steven explained. “A traditional care manager was always thought of as a nurse or a social worker, someone with some advanced education who's handling care. However, in Connecticut and several other states, you can call yourself a care manager with little more than a high school diploma. You can take a one or two-hour program online and call yourself a care manager.”
The confusion often stems from a general lack of understanding about who does what when an older adult needs care. Elder care coordinators in a Life Care Planning Law Firm are almost never the ones providing hands-on care. “They serve in more of a project management role,” Steven said. “They do things like assessing potential providers, ensuring quality care, helping the family make decisions about care transitions, facilitating open communication between care providers and family members, and mediating family disagreements.”
If you are working with an elder care coordinator in a Life Care Planning Law Firm and you’re not sure what role he or she will be playing in the client’s care, Steven recommends asking this question:
What level of hands-on care do you provide to your clients?
If you’re working with an elder care coordinator in a Life Care Planning Law Firm, the answer you hear will almost always sound something like this:
I help my clients get the right care at the right place at the right time—but I don’t provide the hands-on care. I help the family assess their loved one’s needs, find the right care providers, make sure those providers are doing quality work, and guide the family if problems occur.
To find an elder care coordinator who works in a Life Care Planning Law Firm near you, visit LCPLFA.org.