When the immediate, life-threatening danger of a problem with your loved
one passes, another danger is lurking right behind: The danger of Bad Advice.
It’s now the day after your loved one’s emergency and the immediate danger has,
gratefully, been addressed or averted. You probably have a handle on what
happened… maybe it was a heart attack, maybe a stroke… something else…
But one thing you know for sure: This is either a one-off event and your loved one
is headed home, or… your loved one is going to need help for a while.
You will know the difference. And for either scenario, there are professionals
ready to help. You just have to find and choose the right one.
Where do you look? Who’s right for you?
Here’s the rub: You must find someone who you pay so that their allegiance is
only to you and your loved one.
1) The Hospital Social Worker.
This is someone who usually has the big picture, immersed as they are in
hospital/community work. The question becomes: Will they work for your family
privately? If the answer is, “No”, look elsewhere.
2) Your Mom or Dad’s MD.
Certainly you trust your family doctor. But they often don’t know about all the
senior-care services the community has to offer. Again, you may be best served by
3) The MD’s on-staff Social Worker.
This may be the very best option you can have. And you always have to ask the
physician if they have one because not all doctor offices do! Again, caveat emptor:
If the social worker is paid by an ‘outside’ entity, steer clear. They probably won’t
be working for you.
4) A Care Consultant.
This is a broad description. A Care Consultant can be someone with a nursing
degree/background or someone with a social work degree/background or even
someone with a physician’s degree or background. Remember… if you have to pay
for their services, they will align with your goals and no one else’s. (See our
Rene Writes Blog #11, “Overwhelmed by Elder Care duties and decisions…”
What defines the best Care Consultant for you?
It’s the professional who will agree to work for you and your family, independently
of any other organization or entity.
You need clear advice that is tailored to your exact situation. Lots of folks may
know the ropes, but only an Independent Care Consultant knows how to escort you
into the ‘system’ and deploy it to your advantage.
What should a good Care Consultant know?
Here is what you’ll need to hear about:
1) What care does my Mom/Dad/Loved One need right now?;
What care might they need in the future, based upon their diagnosis?
2) What impact will this care have on their finances?
What kind of insurance do they have?
Any Long Term Care coverage in place?
What will Medicare pay for?
Are they eligible for Medicaid benefits?
Are there community-based programs that can help?
3) Should we be speaking with Hospice providers now… or later?
Again, keep this caveat in mind:
If you work with the lowest-cost provider, you’re probably going to get the lowest-
cost advice. In the end, this is not one of the places you want to look for a bargain.
There just aren’t any. You pay for services yourself: You control outcomes.