Are you Losing Clients Faster than you Should?
Why a Fiduciary is Important to Senior Health, Client Retention and your Senior Care Organization
Clients make financial decisions that can involve changes to the care they receive, and due to a variety of reasons, often leave their home care organizations out of that decision-making process. In this article we discuss how a relationship with the fiduciary community and their professionals, can be a mutually beneficial relationship, improving referrals to your business and retention of clients.
Financial security and safety for your senior clients are an important aspect of senior’s health and wellbeing. It’s part of the reason why families hire you to help keep their loved one safe. When seniors need someone else to care for money or property on their behalf, that person (or organization) is called a fiduciary.
During the COVID crisis seniors are delaying or utilizing less care in the home (especially for less complex care) and that means less oversight. Senior scams are increasing during the pandemic and checking in on our seniors in some remote/virtual manner can help reduce exposure to scams.
Keith Freeman of Sixth Sense Solutions spoke with Robin Dier, a licensed Fiduciary in the state of CA, specializing in looking after senior’s financial decisions. Sixth Sense learned some important things about how Robin Dier and her profession as a fiduciary, are helping seniors and how that relationship can help healthcare service providers such as home care organizations acquire, service and retain clients.
The Big picture view: oversight, compliance, reduction of fraud waste and abuse and advocates for seniors. A professional Fiduciary such as Robin advocates for seniors by helping them evaluate and make decisions that involve their finances and estate, ensuring that they pay their bills, review important documents and can serve as their POA, advance health directive agent, trustee or conservator and eventually carrying out their wishes after death.
Take for example, a client of Robin’s that had mild cognitive impairment, but wanted to remain independent. While adult children in the sandwich generation are happy to have a 3rd party assist, there can be a high amount of opposition from seniors who wish to remain independent but are struggling. As a home care agency, you consistently work with the resistance from seniors who don’t want to pay $30-$50/hour when they don’t feel they need the help, but the need is apparent to other loved ones. Helping to work through this resistance can be a key to opening the door to providing the necessary care.
Fraud Prevention and partnering with other Advocates and Services like Home Care:
Fiduciaries play a big role in helping prevent fraud. There was a case that was brought to Robin where a senior was targeted directly for fraud. Pizzas were delivered to the person’s home “by mistake” to gain access to the apartment. The senior needed to obtain better measures of protection and support and this type of targeting is happening in the community at large today.
Fiduciaries can work in tangent with caregivers and your homecare
company to ensure your clients’ needs are not just met, but also elevated to a higher standard of service and support. Robin points out a few subtle things going on with some scenarios about her client’s ability to operate in the world. For example, “even making phone calls” for this type of senior “is very difficult”. Having extra support such as fiduciary and a nonmedical care provider can help in improving an overall sense of well being for seniors and have real tangible positive results.
Clear Financial Boundaries:
What is your agency currently doing to help keep clear financial boundaries with caregivers? Robin points out that establishing clear financial boundaries in the caregiver relationship is very important. She warns that the caregiver should not be a direct financial liaison for the client, especially in certain areas. For example, going to the bank with the client and withdrawing money with them or on their behalf. Sixth Sense spoke with a client in the Home Instead senior care network and asked about what measures they had in place for oversight and fraud prevention. Home Instead has a fraud protection kit they use with families and training with new caregivers about boundaries. The level of involvement with the caregiver depends on what the family or fiduciary wants.
For example, for grocery shopping where the client is unable to go on their own or accompany the caregiver; the caregiver might use cash or card provided by the acting fiduciary and itemize receipts for any purchases to the fiduciary/agency. Or in some cases, the caregiver uses their own credit card and itemizes receipts for reimbursement based on the care plan. All actions are categorized in the notes and secure online portal for those involved with care and oversight
Clients make financial decisions that can involve changes to the care they receive that often leave their home care organizations and healthcare providers out of the process due to a variety of reasons. Working in partnership with a licensed fiduciary can help your home care business obtain and retain clients, assisted living communities can add value for residents and hospice care programs can add value to families in a range of extra support such as financial oversight and estate planning for patients.
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