If you’ve spent any time researching long-term care options or senior living facilities, you’ve likely heard the term care coordination. But what exactly is care coordination? And is all care coordination the same?
To learn more about care coordination and what sets Kendal at Home’s care coordination apart, we sat down with Marla Gordon, Kendal at Home’s director of clinical services.
Kendal at Home’s care coordination team is what sets it apart. The team isn’t just there to make sure you have what you need in the event of an illness or injury, they get to know you and establish a full wellness plan to get and keep you healthy. Plus, you get access to the team the second you join. You don’t have to wait until you need help to reap the benefits.
“Care coordinators become part of our member’s families over time — they are a source of support emotionally, physically and socially,” Marla says. “They engage with members on a regular basis. They assist with everything from coordinating transportation for a medical procedure, determining care needs to be implemented in your home, setting up meal delivery, guiding the path through hospital and rehab stays, as well as palliative and hospice services. They ensure the caregiver in your home knows exactly what your needs are and provide written care plans to be followed, as well as regular communication with your caregiver. They assist in finding coverage should there be a cancellation or a scheduling issue.”
Because you interact with your care coordinator frequently, not just when you need something, and because your care coordinator truly knows you, you’ll get a different standard of care than what you would receive from a home care agency.
“Care coordinators are trained to conduct annual assessments to measure nutrition, functional status, cognition, fall risk and depression. This information is imperative in monitoring changes over time, connecting members with the appropriate resources and allowing for a model that is proactive versus reactive,” Marla explains. “The results of the assessments also allow care coordinators to design, implement and monitor individualized care plans when care is needed in the home to focus on activities of daily living deficits. Care coordinators work with our vetted preferred providers to ensure that they follow the care plans they design.”
It can be easy to assume that if you don’t currently need care, you won’t need care in the future, notes Marla. However, that’s a common misconception. The majority of older adults will need some kind of care at some point during their lives, and without a care coordination team in place, most people are left to navigate the care landscape on their own, which can prove difficult.
“Kendal at Home is able to assist members in connecting with community resources. We have partnered with our vetted care providers to ensure the best possible care for our members,” Marla explains. “We take the worry away of identifying, implementing and determining the appropriate level of care. Care needs are monitored and modified as needed with the focus of maintaining independence.”
She continues, “Care coordinators are there to advocate for you and assist you and your family in navigating the healthcare continuum. Care coordinators remove the worry from family that may live out of state or assists those who may not have family to advocate for their care. They are there to advocate for you by communicating with hospital discharge planners regarding next steps after a skilled stay. Care coordinators advocate for you along every step of your journey to ensure your wishes are at the forefront throughout your lifetime.”
Kendal at Home’s care coordinators have a variety of backgrounds and regularly receive training on several issues.
Kendal’s care coordinators come from a variety of backgrounds including LPN, social worker, care giver, exercise physiologist, advocate, etc. The team is always looking for new ways to seek out education and certifications. Examples of certifications care coordinators hold include MoCA certification for cognitive assessment, Geriatric Case Manager, Leadership Programming, OSHIIP certification, Dementia Friends Certification, Certified Living in Place Professional, Well Coach Training, and education on Palliative Practice. Kendal at Home values continuing education and provides opportunities for such on an ongoing basis.