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Coordinated Care

Any kind of caregiving is going to require coordinating with other people and entities, such as doctors, therapists, insurance, maybe other family members or non-medical caregivers.

“The challenges individuals face in navigating the health care and LTSS systems are often amplified for their caregivers, who are acting on their behalf,” the AARP states in their “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020” report. LTSS stands for long-term services and supports. “Among those who coordinate care, a greater proportion of caregivers report having at least some difficulty in coordinating care among their care recipients’ providers.”

This report found that the percentage of family caregivers who find coordinating care difficult is increasing, up from 18% in 2015 who said it was “somewhat difficult” 24% in 2020; up from 5% in 2015 who said it was “very difficult” to 6% in 2020. At the same time, those who described coordinating care as “somewhat easy” or “very easy” actually decreased.

Can You Relate?

It seems the challenges of care coordination go across all genders, ages, and types of care, based on those surveyed for this report. If you are a family caregiver, chances are that you experienced some frustrations in trying to work with anyone from a volunteer organization to a specialist at the local hospital.

For those caring for someone with emotional or mental health concerns, or memory impairments, the AARP report found an even greater difficulty with care coordination, as did those caring for someone who is over age 65.

Other insights include:

*Long-term caregivers who have been providing care for one year or longer more often report issues with care coordination.

*Primary caregivers report more difficulty with care coordination.

*Caregivers with at least some college education show a marked increase in difficulty of care coordination.

To Coordinate Is to Communicate

In order to coordinate the care needs of an individual, sometimes safety protocols within HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) can create hurdles to sharing the information between parties.

In order to facilitate improved coordination, find out who is available: Does the insurance provider have a designated care coordinator? Does the hospital have someone in this role? Is there someone at the home care agency who can facilitate this need? Can you hire someone such as a care manager just for this “quarterbacking” for all parties?

Once you are able to decide who is at the hub of the wheel, then the care can be coordinated and adjusted as needs change.

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