Using Geriatric Care Managers to Find the Perfect Nursing Home

GCM Finding Nursing HomeSan Diego County Geriatric Care Managers are Committed to Your Needs, Not a Nursing Home’s

Helping an aging parent or set of parents move into an assisted living facility or a nursing home is a very difficult task in many cases.  Lots of companies have been created that promise to help you make the best possible choice for your family, and to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Many of them advertise on the internet with cozy-sounding names that evoke warm feelings of heartfelt affection and devotion to their clients’ needs.

Every one of these facilities will offer you smiling faces, great people skills, and an understanding attitude. But it’s what’s under the surface that will have the greatest effect on your loved one’s well-being in his or her new home.

“Free” Isn’t Always Really Free

Most nursing home placement services advertise themselves as free of charge for their clients. That sounds like a great deal, especially to families that are already struggling under the strain of paying for their parents’ care.

But why is this service free? It’s free because the facility you ultimately choose will pay the placement service a large commission for steering you to that facility. That means that the placement service will only work with facilities that will be willing to pay them a commission.

Typical commissions paid to “free” placement services are between 50% and 100% of one month’s rent.  Here in our market, that’s an average commission of between $1,500.00 and $3,000.00 or more!

Also, what happens when one facility offers a higher commission than another facility that’s actually better?  Which facility will the placement service tell you about?

A Better Approach: Professional Geriatric Care Managers in San Diego County

A professional Geriatric Care Manager (“GCM”) provides placement assistance in a completely different manner.  Genuine professional GCMs belong to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (“NAPGCM”).  The NAPGCM’s code of ethics prohibits GCMs from accepting commissions from third parties such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Instead, GCMs charge a fee for their services when assessing their clients’ needs and recommending appropriate facilities for those clients.  According to Kaaren Boothroyd, the NAPGCM’s executive director, costs of this type of placement will vary between $300 and $800.

You, as the client, pay for the GCM’s service, not the facility you choose. This means that the GCM service works solely for your older loved one’s benefit and is motivated to recommend the facility that best fits your loved one’s needs.

…and, The GCM Approach Is Still Free!

But is that peace of mind worth the cost of paying out of pocket for the GCM’s fees?  Unfortunately, many consumers may find the free and quick “free placement service” fix more attractive than the GCM approach, unless they know that using a GCM can actually save them money.

They save money because the GCM can almost always negotiate with the facility management to offer you a discount of 50% to 100% on the client’s first monthly rent payment.  Yes, that’s right: it’s usually the same amount that would have been paid to a placement service.  This way, though, your family gets the financial benefit.     Not all facilities pay commissions and in those cases they also may not discount the first month’s rent, but usually they will.

This discount more than cancels out the GCM’s fee, so the client, in effect, still gets the service for free and in fact comes out ahead, since the discount will almost always be more than the GCM’s fee.  And more importantly, the client and the family can feel confident that the GCM made an impartial  recommendation based entirely on the client’s needs, not on the size of a commission.

About Our Placement Services

A Servant’s Heart Care Solutions provides GCM services with social workers, nurses and other human services professionals who are certified geriatric care managers and members of the NAPGCM.  We are paid for these services using the fee-for-service model described above for all of our GCM assignments including “placement” services, helping seniors and their families find the best assisted living facilities and nursing homes for our clients.


Tim Colling
Tim Colling

Tim Colling is the founder and President of A Servant's Heart In-Home Care, which provided in-home caregiving services in San Diego County, and also of A Servant's Heart Geriatric Care Management, which provided
professional geriatric care management services and long term care placement services in San Diego County. Tim has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries. He held a Certified Care Manager credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Tim is also a Certified Public Accountant (retired), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. In addition to writing blog posts here for the Servant’s Heart blog, Tim also is a regular contributor to and to as well as blogs of other eldercare services provider companies. Finally, Tim is also the president of A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing, which provides home care marketing as well as website design and online marketing for those who serve the elderly and their families.

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