Many people assume that the home care industry is made up of nurses and other trained professionals, but that’s not exactly the case. While many people in the home care industry are caregivers, there are also administrators, coordinators, and other experts who keep the entire process running. Often, these people work behind the scenes, but you will work with some of them during the process of determining what care your loved one needs. One of these people is the care coordinator.

Why are these people needed? When you work with an in-home care provider, you’re working with a team. While your loved one will often work with the same caregiver, there may be times when that person isn’t available. They may also need to work with a few different providers depending on their needs. 

This is where the care coordinator comes in. They serve as the center of your loved one’s team. They will keep in contact with you and with any providers who assist your loved one to make certain everyone knows what’s going on. It’s a pivotal position that helps streamline the process and make certain everyone is on the same page. When you work with Reliant Home Care Services, you’ll be in close contact with one of our care coordinators.

a group of seniors looking at a phone

Defining the Care Coordinator Role

The main role of the care coordinator is to help design, coordinate, and monitor a patient’s treatment plan. This means they will work closely with you and your loved one to determine what your loved one’s needs are. Then they will create a plan of treatment and share that plan with anyone who is involved in your loved one’s care. They may even work with your loved one’s doctors and other care providers to ensure that all medications and other care treatments are followed. When care plans are updated, the care coordinator communicates these changes to everyone involved.

In addition to these duties, care coordinators also read over reports from care providers, assess treatment plans for necessary updates or changes, and check in on your loved ones and with you from time to time to make certain everything is going smoothly and as planned. If you have any concerns about the care your loved one is receiving, you can reach out to the care coordinator at any time.

How does this role differ? While care coordinators may meet with patients from time to time, you’ll mostly see them when you first reach out to an in-home care provider. They are very instrumental in getting your loved one’s plan of care put together and implemented. Once that’s done, they’re mostly a behind-the-scenes person. That doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything for you. Often, it means that there are no issues for you to worry about.

 

Understanding Patient Needs

One of the biggest parts of a care coordinator’s job is to understand what a patient’s needs are. That’s why they’re so involved in the early stages of in-home care. When you reach out to Reliant for care, one of your first meetings will be with a care coordinator. They will meet with you, your loved one, and other loved ones to discuss what you need from a care provider. From there, they will craft an individualized care plan that meets your loved one’s needs, preferences, and lifestyle.

Once this plan is finalized, the coordinator works with the various caregivers to make certain they understand what your loved one needs. If those needs ever change, they communicate them and ensure that the individual providers understand the changes. They also make certain to keep you in the loop so you always know what care your loved one is receiving and have the opportunity to ask questions. 

 

Care Coordinators Streamline Communication

Communication, in fact, is another area care coordinators have to be well-versed in. They serve as the bridge between patients and providers. If you have any questions about the care your loved one is receiving or need to arrange respite care, your first step is to reach out to your care coordinator. You will typically always have the same coordinator, even if the caregivers working with your loved one change over time. This ensures that we always have one person who fully understands your loved one’s needs and care plan.

Communication flows the other way, too. Every caregiver writes up a short report after they visit your loved one. As part of the home care process, the coordinator reads and files these reports. If they see any odd patterns emerging in the reports, they will reach out to you to talk about them. If the two of you determine that a change in your loved one’s care plan needs to happen, the coordinator makes that change and communicates it to everyone involved.

 

Continual Assessment and Adaptation

Reviewing and adapting care plans is another key task that care coordinators perform. They will use feedback from care providers as well as from you and your loved one to assess and adjust care plans as needed. Sometimes care plans need to be changed because something has changed with your loved one’s health. Other times, a doctor may make changes to your loved one’s medication or treatment plans that require changes to the current care plan. Continual patient assessment is necessary to make certain care plans are always up to date and address a patient’s needs.

Care coordinators also carefully track a patient’s progress. If someone is receiving care because they lost some range of motion due to an accident or surgery, they may regain some capabilities over time. The care coordinator will track their progress and, as they’re able to do more, change up their care plan to allow them to return to performing some daily tasks. On the other hand, if a patient has dementia and it’s progressing, the care coordinator may suggest additional services or more hours of caregiving to make certain your loved one is safe. 

Care coordinators are also often the point of contact for an emergency. When an emergency with your loved one occurs, their care plans often need to be updated or changed. You may also have many questions. If your loved one has fallen and broken a bone, what does that mean for their lives? Will they need a caregiver more often than usual? Will someone need to be with them 24/7? Your care coordinator will be able to answer your questions and walk you through any changes, both temporary and long-term, that will need to be made to your loved one’s care plan.

 

Training and Development

Care coordinators also play a part in training and professional development. They will attend trainings and conferences on home care and bring new treatment options to you when they apply to your loved one. They will also find proper training courses for care providers, ensuring that they have the knowledge they need to provide the best care possible to your loved one. Caregiving, like most branches of healthcare and medicine, is always changing, and you want to work with an in-home care provider that changes and grows as the industry does.

This is one of the invisible duties of a care coordinator that most patients don’t see, but it can have a major impact on the care people receive. You want your loved one’s caregivers to bring new processes and techniques to your loved one, especially if those new techniques make things easier. 

a senior couple in each others' arms and smiling at each other

The Importance of Empathy and Compassion

As such a vital link in the communication and care process, care coordinators have to gain the trust of their clients. You should always feel comfortable reaching out to the coordinator with questions and concerns. You need to know that you can trust them with your loved one’s health and safety. If you ever feel like the care coordinator isn’t providing the best care possible, you should also know what your options are. 

Care coordinators will do their best to balance being a professional with empathy. They are one part of home care that often has to deal with paperwork, including the financial side of things. However, they should always approach even these tedious tasks with a genuine human touch. A good care coordinator will be just as empathetic and comforting as a care provider. 

 

Reliant Home Care Services Understand In-Home Care

The role of the care coordinator is, as you can see, a key position in caregiving. Could a team operate without a care coordinator? It’s possible, but could that team provide the level of care, communication, and guidance that meets your needs? Probably not. A care coordinator is the center of a care team, and without one, the process breaks down. 

Reliant understands the need for experienced and empathetic care coordinators. Our coordinators are always ready to listen and answer any questions you may have. They are proactive, bringing concerns and questions to you as well. Our goal as a care provider is to always put the needs of our patients first, and our care coordinators do the same.

To learn more about what Reliant Home Care Services can do for you, contact us today.