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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 03/30/2015

GeriatriCare Management, Inc. - Real-Life Story

Rescuers don’t always wear uniforms and use sirens. For Richard Johnson, rescue arrived in the form of geriatric care manager Stephanie Thomopoulos. Stephanie is the founder and president of GeriatriCare Management, Inc., a care management firm serving the entire Washington, D.C. area.

During his early 70s, Richard’s life was in crisis. At the time he was living with his ailing father. Richard had faced a lifetime of social, physical and mental challenges, and he was now completely dependent on his dying father. After his father passed away, a family friend stepped in and enlisted the help of Attorney John McLaughlin to manage Richard’s care.

When Richard’s mental health problems began to escalate, John was connected with Stephanie and GeriatriCare Management. “She was the only one who seemed to understand Richard and his situation,” John said. “I can say without reservation that had it not been for Stephanie and her intervention – her professional guidance – Richard would probably not be alive today.”

Stephanie took on Richard’s case in 2009, and she has been his strongest advocate ever since. While Richard continued to live in his Arlington, Va., home for some time, he began to experience increasing physical and mental challenges. Stephanie became Richard’s medical advocate, coordinated and attended physician’s appointments and communicated with all members of his health care team.

Following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Richard suffered a series of accidents. When he fell and became trapped in his basement, he had to be rescued by firefighters who came through the window. “That fall almost killed him,” recalled Kent Washburn, Richard’s cousin and only local relative. “When Stephanie called me, she let me know that he just couldn’t stay in that house alone anymore.”

Kent worked with John and Stephanie to oversee Richard’s move to a skilled rehabilitation facility for recovery, and eventually to the assisted living community where he now lives. “Stephanie’s help was so valuable because she has an excellent understanding of what is out there in terms of services and communities,” Kent said.

To help with the move, Stephanie enlisted the assistance of Patty Rounsevel with Household Estate Services. “Patty came over and talked with Richard and asked him what he wanted to take with him. After that, she came in, tagged everything and took care of the whole move,” said Kent.

In addition to arranging for the move, Stephanie also organized a meeting that brought together Richard’s various providers to discuss his care needs. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” recalled Kent. “She called these 12 different doctors – therapists, a psychiatrist, a neurologist, everyone – into a single room and had them discuss his case holistically. That was very reassuring.”

Recently, Stephanie has helped Kent and John make increasingly difficult medical decisions. After a virus compromised Richard’s ability to communicate and swallow, the group had to decide whether or not to use a feeding tube. Based on Stephanie’s research and recommendation, they opted not to use a feeding tube. Even when some of his doctors were adamant that he needed the feeding tube and would never recover, Stephanie remained a firm advocate for his quality of life.

Richard did recover from the virus. When he was once again able to communicate, he confirmed that he would not have wanted a feeding tube – that they had made the right decision.

“Stephanie has given us the information we need to make better decisions, and she has been a great advocate for Richard,” John concluded. “I think all families need somebody like Stephanie if they have a loved one in a nursing home because she really cares about the patients, about them as people.”

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