Tama’s father Joe, age 84, was still fairly independent and was doing well living on his own. He didn’t drive at night anymore and while the COVID-19 pandemic had temporarily halted his weekly card game at the senior center, he kept in touch with family and friends using FaceTime. Tama lived out of state and due to quarantine restrictions, hadn’t been able to visit. She relied on me, his care manager, to be her ‘eyes and ears’ to make sure his needs were met. Things were on an even keel.
That all changed when Tama got the phone call from the hospital one afternoon. Her father had lost his balance and fallen while tending to his garden. Luckily a neighbor had seen what happened and called an ambulance. Tama phoned me immediately and I met Joe and the doctors in the emergency department.
The news wasn’t good. Joe had fractured his hip and was likely to need surgery. With his daughter unable to see him while he was hospitalized, over the next two weeks I was closely involved with overseeing Joe’s care, pre and post surgery. While he made it through the surgery all right, Joe was going to need placement in a rehab center and he was at risk for complications. A hip fracture can keep a person immobile for a long period of time, which can lead to blood clots in the legs or lungs, bedsores, and urinary tract infections.
It can be difficult to navigate the health care system, even more so during COVID-19. When Joe was ready for discharge, I located a reputable rehab center in the area and arranged for his transport there. Medicare had covered Joe’s hospital stay and I explained to Tama that rehab would also be covered. However, in my experience I often have to advocate for families to ensure they’re given the correct information about services for which Medicare will and won’t pay.
I also kept an eagle eye on Joe’s care. At one point he was prescribed a medication that I knew from his medical history could result in a bad reaction. Luckily I discovered this in time and consulted with his physician. Medication errors are common in many types of healthcare settings.
Fortunately Joe’s recovery went well. He was determined to go home, although he knew he would need help upon his return. My next step was finding a home care agency to help Joe with bathing, meals, and household tasks. While the hip fracture had healed without complications, Joe was weaker and more frail than before his fall. I arranged for the services of a home health aide agency, and continued to monitor Joe’s care.
“I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you,” Tama said. “Especially now, with the pandemic still going on and me unable to travel.”
A care manager can be an advocate and guide for seniors and their families in situations like the above, even during these difficult times. An experienced professional can help you make the best decisions and ensure that your loved one gets the best care possible.
Do you have similar concerns about a family member who has a long term care policy? In these difficult times, a care manager can offer direction and guidance when it’s time to activate the policy. If you need help in the Rochester, New York, area, please reach out to us at 585-787-0009 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If your aging parent is outside of our area, you can still contact us for a referral to a geriatric care manager in other locations.