Brain injury case managers for brain injury survivors | Bolt Burdon Kemp Brain injury case managers for brain injury survivors | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Brain injury case managers for brain injury survivors

Working with adult brain injury survivors in the Adult Brain Injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, I see firsthand how specialist brain injury case managers improve the lives of our clients and their families. Here I explain why we appoint specialist brain injury case managers for our clients, what they do, and how and when we appoint them.

Why a specialist brain injury case manager?

A case manager is a qualified health or social care professional who helps individuals with severe injuries, such as brain, spinal cord or orthopaedic injuries, to improve their quality of life by identifying and meeting their ongoing needs.

As brain injuries can lead to significant physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities and affect individuals and their families in complex and unpredictable ways, a case manager with specialist knowledge and experience of brain injuries is needed. Such a specialist will understand the unique challenges faced by the brain injury survivor and their family and have the experience and knowledge to tailor support to their specific and evolving needs.

What does a specialist brain injury case manager do?

In essence, a case manager coordinates resources and services to meet an injured individual’s care and rehabilitation needs.

The first thing a specialist brain injury case manager will do is assess our client’s immediate needs. This ‘Immediate Needs Assessment’, also known as an ‘Initial Needs Assessment’ or ‘INA’ is a critical first step in our client’s rehabilitation journey.

The case manager will meet with the individual and their family. They will discuss all aspects of their life and the impact their injuries have had and are going to have, both physically and psychologically. The aim is to understand the full extent of our client’s needs and lay the foundation for a plan to meet those needs, taking account of their preferences and personal aspirations for their future.

The case manager will then prepare an INA report. This will describe any relevant medical history, our client’s physical capabilities and limitations, such as mobility, strength, and coordination, their cognitive function and mental health needs, any

social and environmental factors, such as whether their living situation is suitable for them following their injury and whether they have family support.

The report will go on to set out our client’s care, treatment and rehabilitation needs and a plan for the following months to meet those needs.

For a severely brain injured individual, the case manager is likely to recommend a package of care and therapy, which could include neurologists, neuropsychologists, rehabilitation specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and mental health professionals, depending on the challenges our client is facing.

Once the recommendations are agreed, the case manager implements the care and therapy package. This involves recruiting and appointing the care and therapy team, coordinating the care and therapy to ensure continuity and consistency, and reviewing progress against rehabilitation goals.

Brain injury case managers must be able to work with people with complex needs, demonstrate significant experience and knowledge, be able to coordinate a multidisciplinary team of therapists and guide our clients through various rehabilitation options. They should be good communicators and understand our client’s needs and priorities.

How do we appoint a specialist brain injury case manager?

Case managers are crucial in helping brain injury survivors recover effectively so our Adult Brain Injury team makes sure each of our clients has the right case manager for their circumstances.

We do this in two stages. First, we find potential candidates, making sure they meet all our criteria, are in the right geographical area, and are a good fit for the client, from a social, cultural and age perspective.

Then we arrange a ‘meet and greet’ so our clients and their families have an opportunity to meet face to face before deciding whether to go ahead with a particular case manager.

When do we appoint a specialist brain injury case manager?

Briefly: as soon as possible. The sooner a case manager is appointed, the sooner practical arrangements, such as organising relevant services, obtaining financial support and equipment, and finding rehabilitation and care options, can be made.

The sooner practical arrangements are made, the sooner our client’s specific health social and emotional needs can be met, helping them and their families adapt to their new situation, maximise their independence and achieve the best possible quality of life.

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