Posts Tagged ‘Care Coordinators Inc’

Choosing a Caregiver

JUNE 6, 1994 VOLUME 1, NUMBER 28

By Joan Ardern, Community Liaison, Care Coordinators, Inc.

(Third of three parts)

An advantage of case management firms is that they have developed personal relationships with many professionals in the community and therefore have a larger network of caregivers and services at their fingertips.

The case management company should also be checked for experience and reputation in the community. Unfortunately, case management is relatively new. There are no licensure requirements. Presently, there are reputable organizations such as the National Guardianship Association and the National Association of Geriatric Case Managers that are in pursuit of accreditation. However, until a form of accreditation is in place, here is a list of questions you can ask in a phone interview:

  • How many years total experience? (More is better)
  • Who are the officers in the company?
  • What are the hourly fees?
  • Does the company have liability insurance? (A must)
  • Does the company have employee dishonesty insurance?
  • Does the company have a 24 hour on-call service? (A must)
  • Does the company have an RN on staff?
  • Is the company bonded?
  • Does the company offer personal financial services? (bill paying and insurance papers can become cumbersome)
  • Can the company provide local references?

Take your time in choosing caregivers and case managers. Don’t let a crisis situation rush you into making hasty decisions. Ask all the questions you can think of and continue to research the material. The good news is there are a lot of good caregivers out there and among them is the right one for you. After walking through the telephone book, include a phone call to your Area Agency on Aging. In Pima County call the Pima Council on Aging, 790-7262 and Senior Resource Network, 795-7480.

Assisted Suicide

A Federal Court judge in Seattle has ruled that the State of Washington may not prohibit physicians from assisting their patients to commit suicide. The judge, in a ruling handed down May 3, found that the U.S. Constitution requires the State to permit competent, terminally ill patients to seek medical assistance with the decision to end their lives.

The ground-breaking lawsuit was brought by Compassion in Dying, a non-profit organization located in Seattle and established for the purpose of assisting a select category of patients to end their lives. In order to receive assistance from Compassion in Dying, a patient must be fully competent, must have been diagnosed as terminally ill, and must have an attending physician willing to remain involved during the suicide. In addition to Compassion in Dying, the lawsuit was brought by three terminally ill patients (two of whom have since died) and four physicians who treat terminally ill patients.

The judge found that the individual’s right to privacy includes the right to end one’s life when terminally ill, and that the Constitution’s equal protection clause prohibits different treatment of the patient based solely on whether the patient is receiving life-sustaining treatment (which can be refused). An appeal is being prepared.

[Arizona’s assisted suicide law is very similar to Washington’s. Still, the ruling has no immediate effect on Arizona law.]

Choosing a Caregiver

MAY 30, 1994 VOLUME 1, NUMBER 27

By Joan Ardern, Community Liaison, Care Coordinators, Inc.

(Second of three parts)

There are advantages to hiring a home health agency rather than hiring someone privately. Agencies are on-call twenty-four hours a day. A progressive agency will have updated training programs for their caregivers. Another advantage of an agency is that it has the ability to provide a substitute in case of an emergency. The agency also assumes responsibility for payroll, worker’s compensation insurance, and related paperwork.

A major pitfall with either hiring privately or through an agency is the potential for a well-intentioned caregiver to assume more responsibility than intended. Clients may find themselves by-passed on major decisions concerning their care. A good agency will monitor the care being provided and ensure that the caregiver adheres strictly to the assigned responsibilities.

Another way to find a caregiver is to use a new type of service that emerged in the late 1980s–the private case management company. The case management company can provide an assessment and evaluation of client needs, financial management, hiring and monitoring of caregivers, and (in some cases) protective services such as guardianship and conservatorship. The case management company can be an effective choice for the family who does not want to deal directly with the process of hiring the caregiver. A private case manager will first assess the needs of the client and then coordinate appropriate services from professionals for the individual’s care. Essentially, you will be paying the case manager to conduct the research to find the proper caregiver and to monitor the caregiver. The cost of the caregiver should remain the same whether provided through a home health agency or a case management company.

About this Series

Joan Ardern, Community Liaison for Care Coordinators, Inc. has written this three-part series on “Choosing a Caregiver.” The first installment appeared in last week’s Elder Law Issues, and the final segment will be printed next week.

Lawyer Sentenced

Phoenix lawyer David Mason was sentenced to seven years in prison last week on fraud and theft charges. Mason was also ordered to pay almost $400,000 in restitution to several clients and estates he had administered.

Mason plead guilty to the charges last month. He admitted using his Sun City law office to gain control of clients’ estates and then misappropriate funds.

Mason has been suspended by the State Bar of Arizona since 1992. His conviction and sentence will result in automatic disbarment. Mason had previously served as a circuit judge in Aledo, Illinois, before moving to Sun City.

A Jolly Good Fellow

Elder Law Issues’ Editor, Publisher and Author Robert B. Fleming has been named as a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. The Academy, at its annual Symposium in Seattle last week, named Fleming and five other elder law attorneys as Fellows in recognition of their contributions to their respective communities and the practice of elder law generally. The other new Fellows hail from Florida, California, Ohio and Georgia. They join the fifteen national elder law leaders already selected for Fellowship in previous years.

Choosing a Caregiver

MAY 23, 1994 VOLUME 1, NUMBER 26

By Joan Ardern, Community Liaison, Care Coordinators, Inc.

(First of three parts)

As the American population ages the need for more caregivers becomes magnified. Today, many families are living in the so-called “sandwich generation,” where the day to day stress of caring for an elderly or disabled loved one can create family chaos. Health care changes and complicated insurance forms can add to the burden, not to mention the added responsibility of finding a reliable caregiver.

From observing case managers at Care Coordinators, Inc., I know that hiring a caregiver is a matter not to be taken lightly.

Home Health Agencies

One of the easiest ways to hire a caregiver is through a home health agency. You can find these agencies in the telephone book. Here are some questions to be asked in a phone interview:

  • Is the agency licensed by the state of Arizona?
  • Is the agency bonded? (Most agencies are)
  • Is the agency Medicare certified?
  • What is the hourly cost for a caregiver? A Registered Nurse?
  • Is there a minimum charge per visit? (Some agencies have a two or three hour minimum)
  • Can the agency provide emergency substitution if, for example, the caregiver is unable to work?

Will the agency perform an assessment of the patient to determine the required level of care and identify medical issues? Is there a charge for this assessment?

Private Caregivers

The problems become more difficult when hiring a caregiver privately. Often the family member is facing a crisis, needing a caregiver immediately, and may be tempted to hire someone in haste. This brings up a key point. Despite the urgency, don’t rush the process to find the right caregiver. Request that applicants provide a resume along with copies of the following documents:

  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of social security
  • Proof of auto insurance and driver’s license
  • List of references

It may also be a good idea to conduct a background check if you are hiring someone privately. There are reliable firms that, at reasonable costs, will perform background investigations for you. There are a couple of advantages to a security check. First of all, you will eliminate the unreliable individuals and, second, the background check will verify the good choices.
About Joan Ardern

Joan Ardern, the guest contributor responsible for this three-part series on “Choosing a Caregiver,” is Community Liaison for Care Coordinators, Inc. Joan is also current President of Arizona Continuity of Care, and Co-chair of the Academy for Health Services Marketing, Tucson Chapter. Joan is also active with the Tucson YWCA Board of Directors and serves as co-facilitator for an Alzheimer’s support group.

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