The Wheels in Motion… must stay in motion!
Lilly, a 97-year-old lady, had round the clock home care due to hip and vascular issues. EMS was called when she collapsed at home and was taken to the hospital’s emergency room. After a 23 hour stay in the ER, Lilly was assessed by a neurologist. The neurologist determined she was not ambulatory and developed a treatment plan based on his assessment.
Having spent the night in the ER with Lilly, at one point, I left to use a restroom and returned to find Lilly wandering down the hall searching for me. She could walk! Later, the doctor also came down the hall looking for me, recommended that Lilly be admitted to the hospital and once stabilized, be transferred to a sub-acute rehabilitation unit. As Lilly’s care manager for the past five years, I informed the doctor that she was ambulatory prior to this recent medical crisis and conveyed other clinical information detailing her functional status. Because of this exchange of information, and subsequent conversations, Lilly, fortunately, was spared a transfer to a sub-acute rehabilitation facility as a “non-walker” and was joyfully discharged from the hospital.
My skills as a client advocate significantly altered Lilly’s physician’s recommendations regarding a treatment and discharge plan. Aging Life Care Managers have an expertise in advocacy which can be effective in many aspects of coordinating the care of seniors and the disabled. It is important that we, as Aging Life Care Managers respect and value our own experience and expertise as much as we respect that of other medical professionals and elder care colleagues.
Dorothy Tagarelli, is an Aging Life Care Professional and LCSW with a practice in New York City and Westchester County. She specializes in working with older adults with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, as well as depression and chronic diseases.