What is the advantage of having an elder care coordinator at a Life Care Planning Law Firm involved in preparing you for care conferences at your loved one’s nursing home? We posed this question to Michelle Russo, one of the elder care coordinators at Anderson Elder Law, a Life Care Planning Law Firm in Media, Pennsylvania.
When it comes to knowing how things work in a nursing home, Michelle, like many elder care coordinators in Life Care Planning Law Firms, is an expert. Before joining Anderson Elder Law, she spent more than two decades as the executive director of a senior community that included a nursing home, personal care facility, and independent living facility. When your elder care coordinator has this kind of background, you know you’re working with someone who can prepare you to be a good advocate for your loved one, whether you’re attending your first care conference or your twentieth.
What makes an elder care coordinator at a Life Care Planning Law Firm such a great ally?
First, most elder care coordinators have insider-level knowledge of long-term care facilities and how they work. They understand the realities of delivering care in an institutional setting. Many, like Michelle, have worked in nursing homes before, either as administrators, as occupational or speech therapists, as nursing professionals, or as social workers. “I have been seated across the table from families at care conferences,” she said. “I know what happens, what to expect, and how to navigate through differences of perception and opinion.”
Second, elder care coordinators in Life Care Planning Law Firms have the added cache of being a part of an elder-centered team that includes attorneys. When families and residents enter a care conference with elder care coordinators affiliated with a law firm, everyone feels more empowered. “There’s nothing like knowing that you have a law firm backing you up if there are problems,” Michelle admitted.
Third, elder care coordinators take the time to develop close relationships with residents and their family caregivers. “It all starts with a careful evaluation of the resident, including clinical and bio-psychosocial assessments,” Michelle said. “I get to know the resident by spending time with him or her. I also talk with the resident’s family on a regular basis.”
Next, elder care coordinators are willing to accompany families to care conferences. Michelle says that a large majority of her clients want this, and she is happy to oblige as her schedule permits. “Family members may not understand the clinical lingo used in a care conference, but I do, thanks to my background,” she said. “I’m able to translate if needed. I make sure that all the resident’s issues are addressed, and all of the family’s questions are answered.” If Michelle can’t attend a care conference, she works closely with family members to help them prepare. “I make sure they know what to expect, what questions to ask, and how to advocate for quality care. Because I know the resident so well, I am able to help the family come up with the right questions so they can walk into the care conference feeling prepared. I love knowing that I’m able to give residents and their family members that extra boost of confidence.”