Case Studies
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This month, we are lucky to have two case studies to discuss that were submitted by our special contributors Renée Delacroix and Margi Helsel-Arnold. Twenty-two years ago, these two licensed clinical social workers, co-founded Geriatric Care Counseling (GCC) in Bethesda, MD.  They offer consultation and care management services for a diverse array of clientele with a variety of needs who reside primarily in Montgomery County, Maryland. Here's a brief summary of the breadth of their services:

“As Aging Life Care Professionals (also known as geriatric care managers), we are very knowledgeable about community resources and how to access them for the benefit of our clients. Many older adults prefer to remain in their homes referred to as “aging in place”. Our role is to address the overall needs of the individual (s) to make recommendations, and arrange for desired services, to enhance the older adults’ quality of life. We also provide support and guidance to relatives of older adults. Sometimes a change of setting becomes necessary and GCC can assist with the placement and transition of a move.”

The following case examples offer an idea of the kind of services they provide. You may recognize yourself or a loved one, and we encourage you to reach out for help.

Study One:
Mrs. Smith was referred to Renée three years ago.  Her son, who lives in Chicago, was concerned that his mother who was living alone in her home in Bethesda, was having increased needs and might be in need of assistance.  Renée met with Mrs. Smith and her son when he was in town.  Although she was reluctant, she agreed to allow Renée to check in with her periodically and be available to respond in case of a change in her situation. It became more evident that she was having some confusion regarding her medications and keeping track of her appointments along with other tasks. One evening, Mrs. Smith suffered a fall at home and was not able to get help until she called her neighbor in the morning.  Renée met Mrs. Smith at the emergency room and helped with her admission.  Upon discharge, Renée arranged for home care.  The caregiver was truly exceptional and was able to provide Mrs. Smith with the care she needed at home.

Over a period of time, Mrs. Smith was able to acknowledge her need for home care and she bonded with her live-in caregiver.  Renée provided care management services: making home-visits, coordinating with the home care agency, physicians, and with the family to meet Mrs. Smith’s needs. Currently, Mrs. Smith’s son is considering having his mother move closer to his home in Chicago to an assisted living setting.  Renée is helping with the move process by finding a local realtor, following up with the physician to complete the required medical paperwork for her admission, and other supports for the pending move.

Study Two:
Ms. Block, single never married, was residing alone in her own apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland, when she experienced significant confusion and recent weight loss. A kind neighbor noticed these changes, and brought Ms. Block to the emergency room where she was admitted for dehydration, hypertension, unstable thyroid condition and depression.

Margi was referred by a local elder lawyer and then contacted by Ms. Block's distant cousin to help assess the situation and work with the hospital social worker to facilitate a short-term rehab stay at a nursing facility once Ms. Block was ready for discharge. At the rehab setting, Margi attended a care plan meeting to obtain additional information regarding Ms. Block’s current level of functioning and needs, and to assist with her discharge plan back to her apartment. After five weeks of rehab with medical monitoring, medication, and nursing assistance, Ms. Block was able to return to her apartment with caregiver support. A licensed Medicare agency also provided in-home physical and occupational therapy services for a few weeks. Margi monitored the home care situation and was able to recommend when to taper the caregiver hours as Ms. Block became stronger. Ms. Block continued to receive home care for several months.

Margi visited Ms. Block every month and a year later, Ms. Block decided she preferred to be around more people and not have to deal with everyday chores even with the care she had in her apartment. Ms. Block was interested in considering an assisted living setting. Margi was able to take her on tours of three local settings while keeping her family informed. Ms. Block decided on one particular setting and Margi was able to coordinate with a senior moving company to assist her with the move process. Ms. Block moved three months later and was pleased with her new living situation. She was able to participate in activities and enjoyed having three meals a day provided for her. Margi initially visited her weekly and after a few months, it was mutually agreed that Margi would continue on a quarterly basis and remain available for any further assistance.

GCC offers consultations to family members and older adults to discuss various concerns regarding the aging process, family issues, resistance to in-home support, the question about relocation from out of state to Maryland, the different stages of dementia care, and more. As certified care managers, they are members of the mid-Atlantic chapter of the Aging Life Care Association™.

Special Contribution 
By Renée Delacroix and
Margi Helsel-Arnold

Geriatric Care Counseling, 6619 Rannoch Road, Bethesda, MD 20817
(301) 320-5380  ~
The 8 Core Life Care Areas:
  • health/medical
  • housing/home
  • financial
  • legal
  • family mediation
  • local resources
  • advocacy
  • 24/7crisis intervention
We provide the best care available to clients and families with varying needs. Our team of nurses, nursing assistants, and care providers offers the following services:
  • Care Assessment
  • ADL (Activities of daily living)
  • Elder Care
  • Post-Operative Care
  • Short & Sweet
  • Medication Management
  • “Daughter Down the Street/Son Stopping By” Companion Service

Any question, any time, no matter where you are in your journey, one of our experienced care coordinators is available to listen and provide answers.

We’re available 24/7

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