A Look Inside Geriatric Care Management With Jim Ferry Part I


James L. Ferry is a Geriatric Care Manager based in Deerfield, Massachusetts.  Jim entered Geriatric Care Management in 1992 and established Coaching Caregivers LLC, in 2003.

Jim agreed to talk to us about his Geriatric Care Management career and to give us some caregiving tips and tricks.

I began the interview by asking Jim to tell us a bit more about himself:

Jim: I have been a GCM for 17 years.  I first began on a part-time basis but over time built my practice to a full-time endeavor.  In addition, I am a doctoral candidate at the State University of New York at Albany in Social Work.  I have written several articles pertaining to geriatric care management (GCM) in both professional and scholarly journals and my brand new book, "How to Start a Home-Based Senior Care Business"Globe Pequot Press 2010), is now available.

On a personal note I am a husband, father and musician.

Mary: Please tell us how and why you became a geriatric care manager.

Jim: After college and through the completion of my Masters degree in Social Work and for a couple of years afterwards I had worked in the area of residential treatment of mentally and developmentally disabled adults.  I had planned a career in that aspect of human service work with aspirations to work at an executive and administrative level.  I did however find myself drawn to an available position as a social worker in a physical rehabilitation hospital which became my foray into the fields of aging and health.    Working with primarily older adults really resonated with me in that hospital and it was from that experience that I developed my care management practice.

Mary: Can you tell us what a geriatric manager does and a bit of history about the geriatric care management profession?

Jim: The GCM profession is understood to have commenced after a somewhat informal meeting held in New York City in 1986.  This meeting consisted a few dozen professionals in the field of aging many who were engaged in “private case management” where they were accepting out- of- pocket fees for their services.  What was to become the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) resulted from this conference in 1986. NAPGCM now has over 2000 members nationally and internationally and holds two national conferences each year.

Mary: Who needs the services of a geriatric care manager and what are the conditions that warrant a family to seek out the help of a geriatric care manager?

Jim: Said very simply: it’s when the needs of the elder are exceeding the plan of care that is currently in place, (if any), and there is some reason why the elder and/or the family is unable to implement a suitable change without professional assistance.

Mary: Does insurance, Medicare or Medicaid ever cover the cost, or is it out of pocket?

Jim: Not really.  It is sometimes it is possible that an elder and family member receive some measure of GCM oriented services as part of psychotherapy treatment from a therapist who has some GCM oriented expertise.  Likewise, Medicare does offer the services of a Medical Social Worker on s short-term basis to patients who are newly discharged from a hospital. It is important however to understand that the most of the activities of a GCM are not part of the purview of a psychotherapist or Medicare Medical Social Worker who are more focused on the clinical treatment of their client.

Look for part two of Mr. Ferry's informative interview on February 15th.


2 Responses

  1. The support services in existing system are insufficient to cater to the needs of increasing number of the older persons, both in urban as well as rural settings.
  2. It's a shame much of the information available to seniors and families about receiving care isn't sought out or given to them until the last minute. Often times too quick of a decision is made or too much money is spent due to time constraints.