Caregiving help is new employee benefit

By Leslie King | Emory Report | Oct. 30, 2013

A new employee benefit for adult caregiving will debut Friday, Nov. 1.  A workshop about the program will be held on Thursday, Nov. 7, at noon in Boynton Auditorium of Goizueta Business School.   

The Professional Care Management Program is designed to help support the needs of any benefits-eligible Emory University employee who is caring for an aging, sick or special needs adult, whether nearby or at a distance. The employer-sponsored benefit will be provided by work-life services provider, LifeCare.  

The University has implemented this program to provide enhanced support for its employees and their families as the issues faced by family caregivers become more prevalent on campus, says Audrey Adelson, workLife and family programs consultant.  

Fifteen percent of Emory employees report that they were currently responsible for the care of an adult loved one. This percentage increased to nearly 60 percent when employees were asked if they anticipated having to care for an adult loved one in the next few years. This data was collected by a dependent care needs assessment conducted in 2010 by the Emory WorkLife Resource Center, in conjunction with Bright Horizons, a work-life consulting firm specializing dependent care solutions.  

"Many employees don't identify themselves as caregivers. They just think that they are helping their loved one out with things they can no longer do on their own," says Adelson. "The employee may have a sibling or another parent who is serving in the role of the primary caregiver and the employee may be supporting this person from a distance and therefore don't identify as being a caregiver, but in reality, they are."  

Professional care management is generally not covered by private insurance or Medicare and is often too expensive for many people to afford out of pocket.  

"Many people don't understand the long-term benefits of having a professional care manager perform a thorough evaluation and produce a care plan to help them manage their loved one's care," Adelson says.  

While she notes that such an evaluation with care plan is costly, it can provide insightful recommendations that help prevent problems that may occur later, such as having to hire additional help when a loved one is placed in the wrong level of care  — for example, needing nursing care instead of assisted living.  

Emory University is one of only a small percentage of employers who offer this type of employer-sponsored benefit to its employees, according to the WorkLife Resource Center.  

Professional care management is often referred to as the “gold standard” of employer-sponsored support to caregivers, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving 2012 Study of Best Practices in Workplace Eldercare, of which Emory was cited for employing best practices in its methodology and planning for the future support of employee caregivers.

The workshop will be recorded and available on the Emory WorkLife Resource Center website for employees unable to attend. Registration is strongly encouraged as seating is expected to meet capacity.

To learn more about Emory's Professional Care Management Program or get information about the Nov. 7 workshop, contact Audrey Adelson at 404-727-1261.