As a licensed social worker with 15 years of experience, Nicole Rice views her role as a care coordinator as the one-stop-shop for members served by Friendship at Home. For older adults, thriving independently in the comfort of your own home is made possible through the many services offered by Friendship at Home.
In a recent conversation with Nicole, she shares insights on her role as a care coordinator and how these services impact a number of members.
Q: What is the role of a care coordinator?
A: A care coordinator orchestrates care services for the members. I’m a licensed social worker and have been working with older adults for 15 years. I am that one point of contact, meaning if they have any questions regarding referral services, care services, or general questions about aging, they give me a call.
Q: What is concierge care at home?
A: Concierge care at home means we can tailor the care based on the person’s needs as well as their likes and dislikes. Like a concierge at a hotel, we ask questions up-front and get to know our members so we can provide high-quality service custom to their needs and lifestyle. This means we’re able to implement certain types of services for them; for example, one member might need someone to come in because they’re having difficulty cleaning due to limited mobility. However, another member may have trouble bathing due to a recent fall in the shower. Therefore, the program is tailored to their needs and what they would like to have.
Q: What needs to happen before care can be arranged?
A: For me to arrange care, there has to be a deficiency in at least one activity of daily living — like dressing or bathing. If a member has had some sort of medical event and they’ve been in the hospital, I am in constant contact with the social worker assigned to them to see what the physical and occupational staff determines their needs to be. Some people are able to go home after hospitalization, but it’s my job to check and make sure they’re safe to go home and if there is any care needed. Sometimes, I will go see the member in the hospital to talk about the care, but that truly depends on the medical event that occurred. Once they’re home, I pay a visit to assess how they’re doing in terms of carrying out daily functions. Based on my assessment, the social worker’s assessment and the member’s evaluation on how they’re doing, we decide if any care is needed from that point on.
Q: Can you tell me a story about how you’ve helped a member in the past?
A: We had a member who fell and ended up in the hospital. That member then went to Friendship Village for skilled care so she could receive the physical and occupational therapy needed to make her stronger. We monitored that care as I attended all of her care conferences in regards to how she was progressing. When she was ready to go home, we were able to help her with the transition and even implemented care in her home for about three weeks to make sure she was able to live independently.
Q: What referral services do you provide to members of Friendship at Home?
A: As members come into the program and age, they often determine they don’t want to mow anymore, need snow removal done, or need help with a broken furnace. Once this occurs, they can call me and I will give them a couple of companies they can reach out to. It goes back to that one-stop shop: if someone needs care or some type of service outside of care, they can still call me and I can help coordinate that.
Q: What is your favorite part about this job?
A: The members —- I love them. I can go and talk with them for hours and love hearing about their lives and stories. That’s the best part.
Q: How do you believe you’ve impacted Friendship at Home members?
A: You may need to ask the members that question! I would have to say that I’m responsive and I really get to know them. I’ve found that learning more about their likes and dislikes allows me to serve them better. I also treat members as if they’re completely capable of remaining independent in their own homes, which I believe to be very important. I’m really proud of what I do.