Keeping Everyone In the Loop: Care Management Agencies
Richard Alper describes his father, Morton, as an “unusual dentist.” He explains, “My father was a dentist, but he was interested in much more than just dentistry. He liked history and politics and was an accomplished public speaker.” Morton Alper was active in the Kiwanis Club and rose to the International level in the organization as a Trustee. The Kiwanis Club provides services to underprivileged children, primarily by starting and operating camps. Dr. Alper helped further the goals of the organization by giving speeches calling people to public service. “He spoke easily 30-35 times a year,” says Richard.
When Dr. Alper developed Parkinson’s disease and dementia, his two children realized that he needed additional care. He had suffered two falls within a couple of weeks when they received recommendations for Advanced Care Management, a geriatric care management firm. Richard remembers, “We didn’t know that this field existed at all, but when we received two recommendations for the company-one from a friend of my sister and another through a therapist we knew-we realized that it might be the answer.” The family was having problems managing Dr. Alper’s medications and had been unable to find the appropriate living situation for him.
After speaking with Joan M. Richardson, the owner and RN Care Manager of Advanced Care Management, the Alpers felt confident that she could help. First, Joan assisted in locating a rehabilitation facility where Dr. Alper could recover from his falls. “Joan organized meetings at different facilities and came along to help us ask the appropriate questions,” says Richard. Dr. Alper’s daughter, Patty, adds, “She was instrumental in helping to assess the level of care we would need when choosing the facility. She also coordinated caregiving responsibilities between the facility staff and the private caregivers we used.”
Following therapy, Dr. Alper moved to Grand Oaks Assisted Living. During the moving process, Joan met with the Head of Inpatient Services at Grand Oaks regularly to make sure that the transition was smooth.
Later, when the family was faced with end-of-life issues, Joan and her staff were present for meetings discussing treatment options. Patty explains, “For our family, the help of Advanced Care Management was particularly important because there were two families and several different people involved. There were a lot of people to keep informed, which required Joan’s coordination and facilitation.” Dr. Alper’s families included his two children, his wife, his brother, and his step-children, who all needed updates on his care and treatment. “Joan used her boundless medical knowledge and her exceptional ability to communicate effectively with lay people to keep all of us in the loop,” says Patty.
Realizing how important care management assistance is during a difficult time, the Alpers have since recommended the services of Advanced Care Management to other family members and friends. Richard says, “When you are feeling upset and in over your level of expertise, it is helpful to have a knowledgeable, caring, and competent person to help you navigate it all.” For the Alpers, discovering the field of geriatric care management meant finding the best possible care for their father.