How To Score an A Writing a Geriatric Assessment
A written Geriatric assessment is the toughest skill a care manager can have in their toolbox. You want your A-game because they frequently go to elder law attorneys who submit them to court in conservatorship or guardianship lawsuits. As evidence, they must be perfect. You the care manager pull all your other skills of assessment, care planning, investigation of a case to find the right solution for the clients and objectivity. Plus what is not taught in gerontology classes – writing skills.
Phyllis Brostoff a legendary now retired geriatric care manager an ALCA board member taught this skill and published it in the Handbook of Geriatric Care Management in the Geriatric Assessment. Here is both how you might garden a D or even a flaming F and how to present that attorney your A-game.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ERRORS GCM MAKE IN WRITING A GERIATRIC ASSESSMENT?
- Sloppiness: not enough information is gathered, or used to evaluate problems
- You are a detective and need to gather all the information (clues about the case in the beginning). This means talk to all family members, friends, formal supports, to understand what are all the problems and how will you evaluate them. This includes using all assessment tools and gathering all records, medical, hospital, etc.
- Errors: questionable information, information not checked–
- One daughter says her father is confused and needs her care– not a paid caregiver. Another daughter says that the first daughter has taken financial advantage of the client by withdrawing money from Dad’s bank and should not be the care provider. You do not check the father’s bank account to see that the daughter has made withdrawals for her father’s accounts, which she has.
- Poor spelling, grammar, sentence structure
- Even though your geriatric assessment has every section included and fully filled out, with your care plan and logical conclusions well stated and correct, with perfect recommendations —if you used poor spelling and grammar, the family or attorney will discount it because of your poor writing presentation.
- Poor organization of information.
- For example, don’t put information about the client’s depression in the Home Management section of your geriatric assessment. Mrs. Typhoon feeling depressed does not go in the home safety section. Do not commingle sections. Write a tight outline, follow it, and make your written assessment cohesive.
- Conclusions based on assumptions, not facts
- Make sure your facts are presented clearly. In Mrs. Typhoon’s geriatric assessment, you would not say Problem: Mrs. Typhoon suffers from anxiety, based on your visit where you charted.” Ms.Typhoon looked full of anxiety.” You would state, “When visiting Mrs. Typhoon on November 1, 2026, Mrs. Typhoon stated to the GCM that she very anxious and wanted to take more of her Xanex.” GCM checked with Dr. Feelgood and he said she is taking 10mg of Xanax as needed.
- Lack of coherence between problems, solutions offered in recommendations
- Your geriatric assessment must lead to coherence between solutions and problems. At the beginning of Mrs. Typhoon’s geriatric assessment, her daughter Ms. Tornado wanted you to find out why her mother had multiple falls, and what level of care her mother belonged in. You state she has fallen five times and needs a walker but never state where she falls, which is going down the steps to the laundry room or offer a solution which could be a care provider do the laundry or moving to a single floor dwelling or both.
- Recommendations incomplete: no or not enough choices offered, no argument put forth to guide decision-making
- Recommendations in Ms. Typhoon’s geriatric assessment are incomplete. As stated above