Cathy Cress, author of Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Third Edition, looks deeper into GCM and the possible need for professional mediation:
Have you ever thrown up your hands with an aging, dysfunctional family and considered a mediator? Based on Stanford attorney and professional mediator, Dana Cutis’s breakthrough new chapter, “Mediation: The GCM as the Accidental Mediator” in the Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, 3rd edition, there are main factors that can be identified in determining whether a geriatric should to recommend the services of a professional mediator. These factors include: difficulty of the family, degree of emotional conflict, and complexity of the problem. Below are some early indicators that these factors weigh in favor of mediation in the earliest stage of GCM consultation:
- Family members are focusing on their own needs to the exclusion of their older family member’s needs, therefore requiring the GCM to be such a strong advocate for the older family member that the GCM cannot facilitate family meetings as a credible accidental mediator.
- The older person is unable to express her needs and preferences due to any number of factors, including diminished mental capacity, fear of conflict, extreme dependency, behavior associated with adult dependency disorder, which, again, require the GCM early on to be the “voice”—or surrogate—for the older person
- The presence of issues interrelated with the elder’s care that exceed the GCM’s subject matter expertise, for example:
- Claims by some family members that other family members are exerting undue influence or subjecting the older person to duress
- Claims of elder abuse, which also involve reporting to the appropriate authorities, but can perhaps be addressed in mediation, as well.
- Disputes about the extent of the older person’s ability to make decisions regarding property or health care.
- Disputes over who should manage the finances or healthcare decisions of the older person whose capacity is in question.
- Trusts and estates disputes or decisions.
- Hatred and/or viciousness between family members, particularly when it causes the older person’s loyalty to be called into question.
If you consider mediation as a good GCM tool, order the newest edition:
A comprehensive guide for Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs), Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Third Edition helps define duties and procedures while providing guidelines for setting up a geriatric care practice. An essential teaching tool, this new edition is an easy-to-use, practical guide that gives students the foundation they need to receive a certificate or degree in GCM.