A care coordinator helps avoid gaps in care that impact seniors’ safety and family caregivers’ peace of mind. Keep reading to learn more about this important resource so you can decide if a care coordinator is right for you.
Updated March 16, 2023
What Is A Care Coordinator?
Seniors with multiple chronic conditions have an average of 14 different physicians, 50 prescriptions, and 37 annual office visits. This can seriously burden family caregivers, who often accompany their loved ones or provide transportation to these appointments.
Moreover, when family caregivers can’t make some visits, they must rely on their loved ones for information. But depending on their condition, they may not remember, misremember, or purposefully withhold details. This can lead to repeat assessments, treatments, tests, higher costs, and worse health.
In addition to the substantial time and energy required, family caregivers must also play the go-between between their loved ones, different doctors, and care team members. This can be particularly problematic because providers typically work in silos and lack a central place to store health information, worsening caregivers’ burden.
As the number of elderly patients with multiple chronic illnesses grows, so will the need for care coordination facilitated by a care coordinator. “Care coordination is between family, caregivers, and any other care team members,” explains MeetCaregivers founder and CEO Florence Furaha. “It improves care because everyone knows the care plan, and as the caregiver provides the care, the family can easily track it.”
Also known as care managers, care coordinators help prevent care fragmentation and its many pitfalls. They connect family and professional caregivers, care recipients, and healthcare providers. Their in-depth knowledge of health and home care systems simplifies the process and ensures your loved one receives the best care from everyone involved.
4 Benefits Of Working With A Care Coordinator
1. A Care Coordinator Reduces Gaps In Care
According to a 2016 survey, 34% of seniors had a family member coordinating their care, while 35% had no one coordinating their care. Additionally, only 43% of older adults said their doctors asked about treatment from other providers. This disconnect is called care fragmentation. The risk of fragmentation in healthcare increases as individual healthcare organizations operate within independent silos.
However, a care coordinator helps prevent care fragmentation by supporting four core aspects of care:
- Easy access to a variety of providers and services
- Clear, concise, easily-understandable health information and resources
- Better communication between health providers to streamline care transitions
- A comprehensive approach to care that focuses on the whole patient, not one specific disease or condition
Naturally, care coordination can support the other benefits that a care coordinator provides.
2. A Care Coordinator Improves Long-Term Health Outcomes
A care coordinator connects you, your loved one’s caregiver, and health care providers. Not only does this simplify the process, but it helps identify those needing recommended screenings. This helps close gaps in care and ensures your loved one receives the care they need from their preferred provider in a timely manner.
3. A Care Coordinator Enables Better Care From Health Providers
From primary, acute, and long-term care, the care coordinator would manage provider interactions and relay that information to everyone involved in your loved one’s care. This streamlines communication channels so you and your loved one can avoid repeated tests, treatments, and services.
Not only does this save you time and money, but it promotes your loved one’s safety by closing communication gaps among your loved one’s care providers regarding medicines and treatments.
4. A Care Coordinator Encourages Better Transitional Care
A care coordinator manages provider interactions and shares information with the family caregiver and everyone involved in the care plan. This convenient solution is beneficial for family caregivers of seniors with high-risk or multiple health conditions, as they often require numerous transitions of care, such as:
- Getting a new doctor, specialist, or caregiver
- Progressive/worsening health conditions
- Growing frequency of behaviors or episodes that require supervision
- Moving from hospital care to in-home care, or from an assisted living to a nursing facility
Whatever the situation, a care coordinator documents and records everything. This detailed reporting improves transitional care for seniors as they change to their new location or provider.
Do You Need A Care Coordinator?
MeetCaregivers Can Help
Family caregivers can do a lot, but not everything. A care coordinator can support you (and your peace of mind) by coordinating with your loved one’s care team, arranging respite breaks, and more.
Visit our Blog for more resources for caregivers and seniors.
- Benjamin, R. M. (2010). Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Public Health Challenge. Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Public Health Challenge – PMC. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924996/
- Bresnick, J. (2015, April 9). EHR Data Integrity, Care Coordination Top Patient Safety Risks. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from https://www.healthitanalytics.com/news/data-integrity-patient-safety-among-top-health-hazards
- DiNoia, C. (2020, May 21). The Benefits of Care Coordination. The Benefits of Care Coordination | Lightbeam Health Solutions. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://lightbeamhealth.com/the-benefits-of-care-coordination/. Modified May 5, 2022
- Eldercare Workforce Alliance. (2018, March 29). Care Coordination & Older Adults Issue Brief. Care Coordination & Older Adults Issue Brief | Eldercare Workforce Alliance. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from https://eldercareworkforce.org/care-coordination-and-older-adults-issue-brief/. Modified June 17, 2019
- Heath, S. (2016, December 6). 70% of Senior Patients Need Better Care Coordination. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from https://patientengagementhit.com/news/70-of-senior-patients-need-better-care-coordination
- NEJM Catalyst. (2018, January 1). What Is Care Coordination? Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://catalyst.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/CAT.18.0291
- Valentijn, P. (2021, July 10). Fragmentation of care: its causes and what we can do about it. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from http://www.essenburgh.com/en/blog/fragmented-care-the-causes-and-what-we-can-do-about-it. Modified July 30, 2021