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In this day and age, we are more concerned about our elders than ever before. The COVID-19 fatality rate for patients over 80 is 15% (the overall case fatality rate is 2.3%). And, of course, other health concerns are still ongoing. For instance, one in three seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and two-thirds of older adults (excluding those in senior communities) use long-term care services and mobility support such as grab bars, walkers, and canes.

GCMs and home care providers are there to provide quality of life to seniors throughout these changes in condition and help families navigate the many challenges that present themselves as one ages. Partnerships between the two professionals can elevate the overall care they provide.

What Does a GCM do?

GCMs are professional care managers (oftentimes, but not always, psychologists, nurses, gerontologists and social workers) who assess, plan, coordinate, monitor, and provide services for seniors and their families. They take a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults, often advocating for their clients to ensure quality care and an optimal life.

GCMs gather resources to make a senior’s daily life easier. GCMs may be involved in:

  • Short and long-term planning
  • Helping with emotional concerns
  • Assessing in-home care needs and living arrangements
  • Conducting home visits and suggesting services
  • Choosing caregivers and managing medical and non-medical services
  • Family caregiver coaching
  • Education and advocacy

What Does a Professional Home Care Company do?

Professional home care companies hire caregivers to perform many daily tasks for clients. These range from performing household chores and assisting with bathing and dressing to preparing meals tailored to dietary needs.

When a home care services company and GCM partner together, they can enhance their mutual client’s quality of life.

A Home Care Company can Help Grow a GCM’s Footprint in the Community

Home care companies often have connections within the healthcare ecosystem and senior communities. At Home Care Assistance, we would be pleased to help you make connections with our senior and health care partners and invite you to networking events.

We would also love to include you within our trusted advisor network of professionals that we consult to address client needs. Depending on your location, this network could include:

  • Discharge planners
  • Directors of case management at your local hospital
  • Executive directors at senior living communities
  • Elder law attorneys
  • Wealth advisors and fiduciaries

A Professional Home Care Company can Share Insights with a GCM and Vice-Versa

Both professionals see different aspects of their client’s lives. They can share what they know with the other provider, and this insight may help them both provide better care.

At HCA, Client Care Managers supervise caregivers, ensuring the team knows what to adjust according to a GCM’s plan and feedback to the information HCA provides them. Caregivers use our app on a daily basis, so that the Client Care Managers are aware of changes in real-time. Not every professional home care service uses technology or a dedicated liaison as HCA does.

Partnering to Provide Long-Term Care to Clients

When there are changes in a client’s life, such as in their health or availability of nearby family caregivers, a home care company can provide care for the GCM’s client and report back to them with any change in condition.

For instance, when a GCM’s client has dementia and sees that additional support is needed in the home to keep him or her safe, the GCM may bring in a home care company like HCA with dementia care expertise to co-create a care plan to best serve the client’s needs and preferences. The home care plan may include activities like medication reminders, laundry, lunch, games, puzzles, art, and music.

The Home Care Assistance Advantage

There are advantages to partnering with HCA to deliver services to seniors. HCA has a comprehensive team of professionals. Nearly every office has a Home Care Liaison that serves as a connector to a broad range of local community professionals. This person is dedicated to coordinating with professionals, including social workers, hospital staff, and Geriatric Care Managers.

Our caregivers are employed by HCA. This means that we can address an issue GCMs often experience: gaps in care left by a private caregiver who needs personal days off, perhaps unexpectedly. We can provide coverage when necessary, as we employ dedicated Staffing and Recruiting Managers, and can draw from a large caregiver pool.

We also provide the client-centered and holistic care GCMs value. We use the Balanced Care Method (an evidence-based program built on studies of the longest-living people in the world) to impart this concept to our caregivers. The main components of this method are:

  • Healthy Diet
  • Physical Activity
  • Cognitive Engagement
  • Social Connectivity
  • Calmness and Purpose

We focus on and align with all of the Aging Life Care Association’s eight knowledge areas:

  • Crisis Intervention
  • Health & Disability
  • Financial
  • Housing
  • Family
  • Local Resources
  • Advocacy
  • Legal

In addition to what we’ve mentioned above, here’s how HCA can address these areas:

  • True Match: It’s important for a GCM to have chemistry with the older adult they’re working with; HCA cares deeply about this aspect. We match caregivers with clients, and we can rematch the client with another caregiver if you, or the client, are unhappy at any time.
  • Saving You Time: We can quickly communicate any status changes to you and/or the family because we proactively supervise our caregivers through wellness checks and technology. Our Care Team is also available 24/7, allowing for prompt service for new and existing clients.
  • Ongoing, Detailed Care Notes: We take pride in documenting information on our clients’ physical and emotional well-being. This note taking is critical to high-quality care, and helps us communicate thoroughly with the GCMs we work with.
  • Health & Disability: Our Client Care Managers and caregivers work together to ensure clients are transported to their medical appointments if that is something the GCM could use help with. The HCA team takes detailed care notes and ensures GCMs are advised of these details.
  • Financial: We believe in transparency regarding the costs of our no-long-term contract services. We are also flexible and can adjust to the personalized care goals of a GCM’s client.
  • Housing: We will meet a senior in the place they call home and can perform a home safety assessment, if needed.
  • Family: Our Client Care Managers are equipped and ready to handle any concerns of the family, which could include the concerns of families living at a distance from their loved one. This type of facilitation would depend on the support needs of GCM, and may not be necessary.

HCA’s continued support in all of these areas leads to better care for the clients we have in common with GCMs and may also free GCMs up to further grow their community footprint.

A Perfect Partnership

GCMs and home care companies are obvious complements to one another. Their partnership allows for the exchange of insights and enhanced delivery of services. Beyond enhancing their services, this partnership offers networking opportunities for both. Using the services of a professional home care company in tandem with a GCM is the best way to ensure seniors stay healthy and happy in their homes.

Home Care Assistance’s commitment to personalized, dignified care makes them the ideal partner for a GCM. Our services focus on and align with the ALCA’s eight knowledge areas, further highlighting why we make fitting partners for GCMs.


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About the Author(s)

Francie Bedinger is a Gerontologist, Certified Case Manager, and an Advanced Professional member of ALCA. She is a co-chair of the ALCA SF Bay Area Local Unit as well as a Western Regional member. Francie opened Home Care Assistance of Marin County’s corporate office in 2011. She is multi-disciplined with a vast array of experience in home care, overseeing cases in her role as a Client Care Manager and a Home Care Liaison. With a focus on community outreach and developing partnerships with senior care professionals, she found her place within the Geriatric Care Management community.

Initially, Francie thought she would have her own practice as a Geriatric Care Manager, but found her niche with Home Care Assistance while working alongside Aging Life Care Professionals with a shared vision and a shared mission for every case. In fact, one of the reasons Home Care Assistance is so committed to ALCA is that they strongly feel their mission and dedication to quality care is best achieved by partnering with Aging Life Care Professionals.

Francie describes what she has learned while partnering with Aging Life Care Professionals. “Honesty and collaboration are key components to our partnership. We try to not oversell our caregivers, but rather identify their particular strengths, including areas where we will train or coach where needed. When problems arise, we come together with solutions. We strive to not blame, but to own the problems together and collaborate to solve the issues. We recognize that care management is an art, not a science, where we are problem-solving on an ongoing basis.”

Francie's inspiration in becoming a geriatric care professional came from answering the poet Mary Oliver's question, "Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”

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