They’re Stable Now
I was on vacation recently, and when I returned, I was catching up with one of the care managers on our team when she uttered three simple-sounding ~ yet profound words: they’re stable now.
While these words may not knock your socks off, they did mine.
My team member and I had been discussing a couple (husband and wife) who had become our clients about six weeks earlier and whose needs were significant. When their son initially called us, his parents were in crisis, both individually and collectively.
The word stability is key here. Yes, we are problem-solvers and strategists, but our first goal (and sometimes our only one) is just gaining homeostasis or stability. One of the things I always say when describing our work is that clients ~ especially new ones ~ are not calling to say Hello; they are calling because they are in crisis, have a big problem to solve, or, less often, want to do some planning. As a result, once we begin working with a new client, we often have to leap into action and triage the situation very quickly.
Initially, we spend time conferencing with the family, making in-person visits, assessing the situation, and creating a game plan. We are arranging for homecare, making/attending MD appointments, arranging safety inspections, checking to see how medications are being managed, preparing for discharges from rehab or the hospital, etc. These early weeks are phase one of the care management process. Our overarching goal during this time is to calm things down ~ both for the older adults we serve and for their family members ~ who were likely the ones who reached out to us in the first place.
Providing stability to our clients and their families is the essence of our work.
When I hung up from that conversation with our care manager, my feelings were of great relief for our clients because they truly ARE stable now. But at the same time, I was beaming with pride that our team was able to “right this ship” in the first place. We had three care managers involved, all hands were on deck, and we did it ~ at least for now ~ and for that, we are grateful.