Archive for October, 2007

What to Look for in Assisted Living

Friday, October 26th, 2007

A Professional Care Managers View

CareGrade.com did an interview with professional care manager Liz Salston, LSW to find out what a professional care manager looks for in assisted living facilities.

CG - What do you, as a care manager, look for in an assisted living facility?

LS - The first thing I look for is to see if it is truly a homey environment. This is not an institution these people are moving into, it is a new home. While being homey is important, the facility must also be well run and have a kind staff. I look for a place that all employees, from housekeeping all the way up to the director, will drop whatever they are doing to help a resident with whatever their needs are

Other things I look for include

An environment that is protective for people who are memory impaired. I like to see that the higher functioning people are able to come out and socialize with the rest of the resident, as long as there is staff supervision.

The facility has nursing supervision 24 hours per day

Transportation to doctors and outside recreation is provided.

There is an affordable tier system of care level.

The survey.

Lastly, I like a facility that either has a separate skilled section of its own or a relationship with a skilled facility. I want to know that if a person requires the skilled care for a short term stay, that they will be transitioned back to their home in the assisted living facility once they are better.

CG - What problems do you most often encounter?

LS - I really don’t see many problems with the facilities I use.

CG - What questions should a family ask when speaking with an agency and trying to make a choice?

LS - Will staff engage their parents?

Will they push the residents to go to activities or encourage them to participate?

Do the residents each get lifeline pendants in case of emergency?

How does staff help settle a person into their new surrounding?

Is their any type of support group separate from resident council?

CG - How long does it usually take for a person to move into a facility?

LS - If there is no waiting list, a person should be able to move in within a week. It definitely saves time and speeds everything up when a family works with a good care manager. We have already done all the homework and know what facilities would be best for each individual.

CG - What are the most difficult people to find assisted living for?

LS - Individuals with behavior problems and psychiatric conditions or people who are agitated tend to be the most difficult to find the appropriate accommodations. Another group are those that have problems making the adjustment to a new place to live.

Liz Salston is a social worker with 22 years of experience in the field of services for older adults. She has served as Director of Recreation and Social Services at the Martin and Edith Stein Assisted Living Residence and as a social worker at the Central New Jersey Jewish Home for the Aged in Somerset. She has run several socialization and respite groups at the Jewish Family Service of Southern Middlesex County and has worked as a social worker in HUD senior housing.

Liz holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Judaic Studies, a Master of Social Work, as well as a Master of Arts in Contemporary Jewish History.

She is a licensed social worker in the state of New Jersey, a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, Inc., and the National Association of Social Workers.

You may reach Liz at www.salstoneldercare.com (732) 238-1775

A care manager’s view of assisted living with Mark Zilberman

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

CareGrade.com did an interview with professional care manager Mark Zilberman, LCSW to find out what a professional care manager looks for in assisted living facilities.

 

CG What do you, as a care manager, look for in an assisted living facility?

MK I like to see what my immediate reaction to the place is. How are the aesthetics? Is the place comfortable? Do I feel good there?

Then I look to see what services are offered, in particular, what is included in the base fee. One of the biggest problems I encounter when trying to compare one place against the other is figuring out what is included and what is extra. Some places seem like they cost more, but when you really compare apples to apples, you see that they are offering a lot more services in the base price. Other places are more ala carte.

 

I also check to see what happens when a person runs out of money. Is the facility set up to work with them when that happens? Some facilities are accepting Medicaid, but sadly most places do not.

 

When possible, I check to see what other people say about the facility. I look for input from people who have had actual experience. A service like CareGrade can be helpful with something like that.

 

I also look to see what staff they have available. Do they have a social worker and nurse? What days and hours are they available? Does a doctor come in to see patients and how often do they come? Do they have transportation available?

 

As a care manager, I also look for facilities that work with me and include me in the patient care process. I like to form an alliance and work with them to help bring about the best results.

 

CG What problems do you most often encounter?

MK The biggest complaint I hear about from people is assisted living facilities is the food.

 

CG How long does it usually take for a person to move into a facility?

MK That depends on a lot of factors. If a person needs to pack up their belongings, sell their home, fill out the paperwork, get financing settled and a host of other circumstances it can take a several weeks or longer. People who work with care managers such as myself tend to move in much faster, as I am experienced in helping them with all of the things they need to do. It goes much faster and easier when a professional is there to help.

 

CG What are the most difficult people to find assisted living for?

MK I think that one of the more challenging things is when a person is borderline between a nursing home and assisted living. I try and work with the facility to see what the best place for the person would be.

 

Mark Zilberman, LCSW, has been working in geriatric care management for almost seven years. He brings diverse experience to the field, having worked and studied in the specializations of substance abuse, mental health, developmental disabilities, and homelessness. As Founder of NorthStar Care and Guidance, he and his organization are called upon to manage a spectrum of issues for families. Zilberman was previously affiliated with SeniorBridge, Inc., Beth Israel Medical Center, and The Floating Hospital.

He received his MSW from SUNY at Stony Brook. A licensed clinical social worker in NY and NJ, Zilberman holds credentials in substance abuse counseling from both states. Mark is a member of the National Association of Geriatric Care Management.

You may reach Zilberman at www.NorthStarCare.net, 888-288-6152

Interview With Care Manager Mark Zilberman about Home Health Care

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

A care managers view of home care

 

CareGrade.com did an interview with professional care manager Mark Zilberman, LCSW to find out what a professional care manager looks for in a home care agency.

 

CG What do you, as a care manager, look for in a home care agency?

MZ As a care manager, the main thing I look for is service. The caregivers don’t seem to be very different from one agency to another except that certain registries pay better and can attract a slightly higher caliber of person. What does differ is the service I receive. I look for an agency that will work with me, be responsive to my requests and questions. I also look for how well an agency handles problems when they occur. Can they fill in with replacements quickly and can they solve the problems when they come up?

 

CG What problems do you most often encounter?

MZ The biggest problem I find is that the aide who is sent to a case is not well matched to the client in need of care. When an agency makes a good match, the cases work out much better. Unfortunately, many agencies are very busy and do not have a huge selection of people to try and make the perfect match. They do their best but have to work with who they have available at that particular time. Often, the need for a home attendant is initiated during a crisis. Therefore, the agencies must act quickly.

 

CG What differences do you see between agencies?

MZ The main distinction I find is agency or registry. The agency employs workers directly while the registry uses independent contractors who work for the client. I tend to lean towards the agency model. I find that there can be advantages with registries, such as lower costs, but the family needs to understand potential problems. I explain how they work and let the family decide which way they want to go.

 

CG What questions should a family ask when speaking with an agency and trying to make a choice?

MZ Families should ask about after hours coverage, how quickly does the agency get back to them, do they offer medication management, how often is billing done and what the costs are to name just a few.

CG How long does it usually take to get service started?

MZ I have found that is usually takes just a few days to get service started. Companies that use my assessment as a professional care manager are able to get the case started faster than companies who need to do their own.

 

CG What are the most difficult cases to fill?

MZ Filling a case for a person who smokes tends to be harder to staff. Many caregivers just do not want to sit in a smoky room all day. Cases involving mental illness and behavioral issues can also be a challenge.

 

CG What role would a care manager play if a family is looking for an agency?

MZ Family’s will probably get better service working with a care manager that has relationships with an agency or agencies. There’s a familiarity with staff that can really help. Obviously, an agency or registry has a greater need to serve a care manager as that CM can be or is a conduit to many other cases.


Mark Zilberman, LCSW, has been working in geriatric care management for almost six years. He brings diverse experience to the field, having worked and studied in the specializations of substance abuse, mental health, developmental disabilities, and homelessness. As Founder of NorthStar Care and Guidance, he and his organization are called upon to manage a spectrum of issues for families. Zilberman was previously affiliated with SeniorBridge, Inc., Beth Israel Medical Center, and The Floating Hospital.
He received his MSW from SUNY at Stony Brook. A licensed clinical social worker in NY and NJ, Zilberman holds credentials in substance abuse counseling from both states. Mark is a member of the National Association of Geriatric Care Management.

You may reach Zilberman at www.NorthStarCare.net, 888-288-6152

Eating for Better Aging

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Here are some great reasons to eat right.

A recent study found that seniors who went one week without enough protein began showing signs of muscle deterioration. The answer is to eat a balanced diet which inludes protein (not a high protein diet) along with exercise. Strenght training is the best type of exercise for maintaing muslce development.

Another study found that eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can help reduce your brains aging. Women who ate more vegetables particularly the ones mentioned above had memory scores equial to women a few years younger.

Eat right to help age well. That is the answer.

Interviews with Care Managers

Friday, October 5th, 2007

CareGrade relies on the views of professional geriatric care managers to provide their professional reviews. This allows individuals looking for information about senior service providers  to get a professional’s perspective. We will be providing interviews with the county’s finest care managers to find out what they look for in home health care agencies, assisted living facilities, elder lawyers, hospices, and more. Read our up coming interview with Mark Zilberman.

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