What Are Geriatric Assessments and How Do They Improve Homecare?

Updated: May 1, 2023

Establishing quality homecare services isn't simply finding the right provider. The best homecare services start with a comprehensive geriatric assessment, also known as a senior assessment. This first step involves working with prospective clients and family members to evaluate the client's needs and safety concerns to develop a care plan that is right for them. At Life Care at Home, we strive to provide the highest quality service for the residents of Chicago in and near Hyde Park.

What Is a Geriatric Assessment?

Performed by a registered caregiver, a geriatric assessment will cover a prospective client's health needs in-depth and involve discussions with the client, reviewing medical records, and speaking with relevant healthcare providers, as necessary. This assessment will be used to develop the right kind of care plan - one that accounts for current rehabilitative care, chronic conditions, medication management, and other related healthcare services.

However, a comprehensive geriatric assessment involves not only the evaluation of physical health conditions but emotional ones as well. Patients with positive mental states have been found to enjoy better physical outcomes, reduced risk of developing heart disease and other chronic conditions, and longer life. Often, something as seemingly simple as providing a client with consistent and caring companionship can make a world of difference.

Essential to maintaining a client's positive mental state is empowering them to live as independently as possible. Independent living means that clients can remain engaged and integrated into their local community rather than in isolation. It also means providing them the tools they need to perform routine tasks themselves, which they may find more challenging to do. These tasks may include:

  • Meal preparation

  • Light housekeeping

  • Laundry

  • Appointment transportation

  • Grocery shopping

  • Assistance with personal errands

  • Personal care services

Sometimes, a client or their family members undoubtedly know the services the client may need. For example, a client with moderate arthritis may request housekeeping, transportation, and laundry assistance. But reputable homecare providers will always begin a care plan with a geriatric assessment, as a fresh perspective may uncover additional needs, such as companionship, which the client is unaware of or feels uncomfortable discussing.

When a client can age in place at home with the proper support, they can maintain their relationships and their dignity in the comfort of their own home and neighborhood. Doing so often helps clients enjoy better health outcomes than they would in a residential facility. A comprehensive geriatric assessment helps homecare providers work with clients to develop a care plan that covers a client's physical and emotional health, with a focus on living as independently as possible.

How Does Life Care at Home Conduct Geriatric Assessments?

At Life Care at Home, we deploy registered caregivers to manage our geriatric assessment process. Our companions will meet with prospective clients in their homes and, using a 12-page questionnaire, will begin to evaluate a prospective client's physical healthcare needs, including medication management and mobility. We also use the questionnaire to help us assess what personal care needs they may have, such as assistance with bathing and grooming, meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping, and shopping needs.

We know that many older adults are reluctant to engage in this process. They may:

  • Be unwilling to ask for help

  • Disclose areas in which they feel vulnerable to strangers

  • Have difficulties completing forms on paper or online

  • Develop anxiety about requesting/receiving/financing homecare

By beginning with an in-home assessment, our caregivers can help alleviate some of that reluctance and anxiety. And by working with a client's family and care team, they can develop a clear picture of the client's overall health needs.

But at Life Care at Home, it's about more than just matching a client's needs to a specific caregiver's professional certifications and degrees. Our goal is to create a true partnership between a client and a care provider. Not only do we want to find a provider with the kind of direct experience that is ideal for a client's needs. We also want to ensure we pair a client with a care partner whose personality is the right fit. The in-home assessment process is crucial to ensuring we facilitate the best partnership between client and caregiver.

In-home assessments are free and do not obligate prospective clients to retain our services.

How Do I Request a Geriatric Assessment for Myself or My Loved One?

While many home health care services are ordered by physicians and therefore covered in whole or partly by Medicare or private insurance, you can request our services without a prior referral. And you may still be eligible to have your requested services fully or partially subsidized by Medicare or your health insurance provider.

Contact us today to request a free in-home geriatric assessment or learn more about Life Care at Home, our services, financing homecare, or related areas. 

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