Eldercaring Coordination: A Needed Dispute Resolution Option in California (Nov.-Dec. 2018)
Family Feud? Use Eldercaring Coordination for High Conflict in Eldercare (11/1/18)
Florida Bar News: ‘Eldercaring’ program serves the courts and Florida’s aging citizens (10/15/18)
How Eldercaring Coordination Can Make a Difference with High Conflict Cases Regarding the Care and Safety of Elders (2017)
Link to: The Neutral, Newsletter of the Florida Dispute Resolution Center (2016)
Link to: Florida Bar News, A new way to resolve “high-conflict family dynamics for elders” (2016)
Link to: Dispute-Resolution Tactics Emerge to Aid the Elderly (2016)
Link to: From Friction to Fireworks to Focus: Eldercaring Coordination Sheds Light in High Conflict Cases (2015)
Link to: Dispute Resolution and Aging: What is the Nexus and Where Do We Stand? (2015)
Link to: Family Matters in Elder Law Practice (2016)
Eldercaring Coordination in Your Community or Law Practice (NAELA, Spring 2018)
Association for Conflict Resolution Approves New Court “Eldercaring Coordination” Guidelines for High Conflict Cases (Volume: 36 Issue: 1)
*Note: The PDF for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: Bifocal, Vol. 36, Issue 1.)
The Association for Conflict Resolution has unanimously approved guidelines for an “eldercaring coordination” process. The process targets adult guardianship and related cases in which high conflict family dynamics may interfere with the well being and safety of an older person and with adherence to court orders.
Since “parenting coordination” has been established as a viable dispute resolution option for high conflict cases involving parents and children in court actions, an ACR Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination used parenting coordination as a model to develop a similar dispute resolution process specific to the unique needs of elders.
The new ACR Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination are posted on the ACR Elder Decision-Making Section website.
The Guidelines also are posted on the National Center for State Courts’ Elders and the Courts website.
The ACR Task force is now looking for possible court pilot project sites.
For more information, contact Task Force co-chairs Linda Fieldstone (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sue Bronson (email@example.com). ■
Aging Today, Eldercaring Coordination: An effective response to family conflict (Nov/Dec 2016)
Eldercare Coordination with Judge Lee Haworth,
Judge Michelle Morley, & Attorney/Eldercaring Coordinator
Eldercaring Coordination Helps Address Conflicts
By Paul R. Pace, News staff
The number of people age 65 and older is growing. And that growth adds the potential for increased cases of family conflicts in addressing an older person’s care and well-being.
A newly developed practice modality, eldercaring coordination, can help families and older adults address those conflicts.
The Association for Conflict Resolution Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination developed the process, during which a coordinator assists elders, legally authorized decision-makers and others who participate by court order or invitation to resolve disputes with high conflict levels that impact the elder’s autonomy and safety.
“Eldercaring coordination is really for the high conflict families where the conflict is no longer about substance — it’s about the conflict itself,” said Sue Bronson, co-chairwoman of the ACR Task Force.
The task force has outlined the eldercaring coordination process and foundational ethical principles in its recently released “Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination.”
They include qualifications of and training protocols for eldercaring coordinators, as well as standardized forms and assessment tools that courts may use to pilot eldercaring coordination projects.
With the release of the guidelines, pilot sites are being sought to test and refine the proposed practice. Because courts will likely generate most eldercaring coordination referrals, at least one judge will be required to participate in each pilot site.
Social workers can take the lead in encouraging pilot testing in their locale and work with interested stakeholders to secure foundation or other funding to make local testing a reality, said NASW member Georgia Anetzberger, former president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, who served on the Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination.
Practitioners of various professional backgrounds, including social work, may serve as eldercaring coordinators. Completion of training in both elder mediation and family mediation is a prerequisite for participation in the training.
Eldercaring Coordinators Receive Training in Five Pilot Programs
By Paul R. Pace, News staff
Five states are conducting pilot projects that aim to resolve high-conflict disputes among families and older adults through a new dispute-resolution process called eldercaring coordination.
The Association for Conflict Resolution Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination, in which NASW staff was involved, developed the process as articulated in the “Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination,” released in late 2014.
Eldercaring coordinators assist older adults, legally authorized decision-makers and others who participate by court order or invitation to resolve disputes with high conflict levels that impact the older adult’s autonomy and safety.
The ACR Task Force is co-chaired by Sue Bronson and Linda Fieldstone, who say that eldercaring coordination is garnering attention — both among circuit court judges and others in the legal system and among aging services providers — as a potential resource to resolve family conflicts.
Bronson, who is an LCSW, noted that 36 Eldercaring coordinators have been trained in the five states — Florida, Indiana, Idaho, Ohio and Minnesota — that host the pilot programs.
Circuit courts in those states volunteer to be part of the project and agree to assign at least a minimum number of cases to eldercare coordinators.
Eldercaring coordinators include social workers, psychologists, other mental health professionals, attorneys and mediators, Bronson explained.
“Social workers are on the ground floor and are at the front line for this work,” Bronson said. “They are doing (the work) in ways the justices are finding helpful.”
Fieldstone said that while eldercaring coordination is performed with oversight of judges, the work is less about legal motions and more about discovering the family dynamics that are causing disputes.
Social workers are skilled in helping families through this process, she said.
Eldercaring coordinators benefit the court system by freeing up precious judicial time by addressing matters for which other dispute-resolution processes have been unavailable or have been ineffective, Bronson explained.
Two researchers are surveying the key players in the pilot sites in an effort to evaluate the process, Fieldstone noted.
She said there is no evidence to report as of yet as the cases typically take about two years. However, organizers said they are getting positive feedback from the participating judges.
“It takes a while for these families to stop the drama and start the healing and focus on care of the elder,” Fieldstone said.
Meanwhile, the good news is the ACR Task Force is seeking more pilot sites across the U.S. and plans to host a training for new eldercaring coordinators in the fall.
Social workers who work with older adults are encouraged to reach out to local judges and attorneys to see about becoming a pilot site, Bronson said. Social workers are also encouraged to review the Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination to consider whether they might be interested in and qualified for training as coordinators.
To be considered a pilot site, it is necessary that at least one judge within a specific circuit or county commits to referring at least six families to participate in eldercaring coordination. Alternately, a group of attorneys may refer at least six cases to eldercaring coordination through an agreed court order.
Contact Linda Fieldstone, Lfieldstone@jud11.flcourts.org, or Sue Bronson, firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about consideration for hosting a pilot site and the training for new eldercaring coordinators.
Visit acreldersection.weebly.com/uploads/3/0/1/0/30102619/acr_guidelines_for_eldercaring_coordination_tf_11-17-14_abr.pdf to download the Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination.