Q. The policies I’m selling contain a care coordinator benefit. How can I explain the value of that benefit to clients?
A. Having hired a care coordinator for my mother, I am a big advocate of that benefit. When I tell my mother’s story to clients, they really understand how valuable a benefit caregiving is.
I start the conversation when reviewing the policy benefits, explaining that a care coordinator is a nurse or licensed social worker with additional training. Then I share this story.
My mother’s story: When my mother, then 90, was hospitalized with double viral pneumonia, she was treated with an antibiotic that resulted in her becoming paralyzed in the groin. She was then admitted to a rehab nursing facility to learn how to walk again.
Six weeks later, I knew the moment was approaching when Medicare would stop paying and the nursing home was going to discharge her. I had no idea what I was going to do next. Could she go home? What about assisted living?
I hired a care coordinator at the assistance of Dr. Marion Somers, the national spokesperson for the 3in4 campaign. She had visited my mother in the nursing home while traveling across the country for the campaign. My mother has an older long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy, which does not pay for hiring a care coordinator.
I interviewed several people over the phone and then hired Harriet. When the nursing home told me they were ready to discharge my mother, I immediately called Harriet, who arrived at the facility the next morning. She first interviewed my mother, then the physical therapist who was taking care of my mother and finally reviewed the medical records. Next, she accompanied me to my mother’s condo, a comfortable two-bedroom-and-den unit in a high-rise building.
After thoroughly touring the apartment, she agreed that my mother could come home, but I first needed to:
- Install grab bars in the bathroom by the toilet. She provided a list of what to buy and where.
- Eliminate scatter rugs in the bedroom.
- Remove the shutter doors to the kitchen.
She suggested starting with around-the-clock home care for the first month, and then we could reassess. Further, she recommended a specific home-health-care agency where the aides were going to nursing school. That was the best suggestion ever: The aides are bright, caring and, even more important, my mother loves them.
After three months in Baltimore dealing with this health crisis, I was finally able to return home to Florida.
After I left, Harriet checked on my mother on a regular basis for several months. Also, after a month, we were able to cut back on the home health care to seven hours a day. The bill dropped from $442 a day to $150. And we started using a medical alert system at night.