The value of case management and why it should not be underestimated
Talking all things case management:-
In this blog with Kerry Tomlinson from Integrated Case Management, we explore the value of case management and why it should not be underestimated.
Why is it so important? What can a case manager do to assist me? are often the questions that clients ask. I therefore deal with these points in a Q&A with Kerry.
What does case management include?
It can include:-
- Arranging a variety of therapies such Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language.
- Support to recruit, train and manage a support worker, buddy, or personal assistant.
- Support to arrange assessments and purchase of specialist equipment
- Assistance with finding a suitable property
- Assistance to adapt and renovate a property
- Support to apply for benefits
- Support to plan a holiday
- Support to arrange an EHCP in an education setting
- Support to liaise with employers or education providers.
- Support to access statutory services
- Attending medical appointments
What does your role involve?
My role as a Case Manager is varied and is very much dependent on the needs of my clients. My role is to take some of the pressure that my clients and/or their loved ones are under managing the day-to-day impact of their injury.
This can be as simple as arranging a therapy appointment, or arranging payment for a piece of equipment, but often it is acting as an advocate for my clients, supporting them to attend hospital appointments that they may be worried about, or being there to talk through options around care, therapies and housing drawing on my experience of supporting clients and their families.
My role is to take some of the burden of managing their injury away from my client, it is extraordinary how much admin my clients have to manage in relation to their injury and the needs arising from these injuries.
What are some examples of the support you have provided?
When I look back on some of the support I have provided over the years no two days are the same. In addition to managing care teams, liaison with therapists, equipment providers and architects, I remember when I took a tearful call from a mother of a child client I supported. She had a car accident along a country lane when a pheasant flew into the wheelchair accessible vehicle that my child client was in, smashing the grill and radiator. The usual AA breakdown couldn’t provide wheelchair access to get my client home, so in addition to arranging the AA, I also was able to arrange quickly for a wheelchair accessible taxi to come and get my client, his Mum and baby sister and take them home. Fortunately, it was during a warm summer’s day, but it is an example of how everyday things can be much more complicated when you have a disability.
Other examples that have really mattered to my clients include helping a young client who had lost both of legs find a lovely dress for her 21st birthday party that covered her prosthetic legs. For this client, I also arranged for her to have specialist prosthetic legs made that allowed her to start wearing heels again and ballet pumps. Something that most of us take for granted but after 5 years of having to wear clumpy trainer boots to fit into her old prosthetic legs it made such a significant difference to this lady’s quality of life. It slowly rebuilt her confidence as she wasn’t always on edge at being stared at and slowly, she started to go out and do the things that she had given up, working, shopping, exercising. She went on to learn to drive and I helped her select and purchase a specially adapted car. It was a pleasure to meet her for her lunch break when she returned back to work.
How do you pick a case manager?
Selecting a case manager is an important consideration. Case managers can come from various clinical backgrounds for example occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and nursing. Depending on your needs this may mean that you want a case manager with a specific background. For example,
If your child has complex medical and care needs arising from their injury you may want to meet case managers that have a nursing background.
If you are anticipating that you or your loved one are going need a formal care team, it is really important to meet potential case managers that not only have a clinical understanding of the injuries you have but that they also have experience of recruiting and managing care teams.
All case managers should have a clinical background and all good case managers in addition to their clinical expertise should also have sound assessment skills as well as being very organised and responsive.
I would always recommend that you meet a couple of potential case managers before making a decision. Working with a case manager is often a long-term working relationship and it is really important that you feel comfortable with your case manager, so that you can have open and frank discussions as well as feel that you can rely on their support and advice.
It is always good to ask any potential case manager about their experience of supporting clients who have similar injuries to you and how they have helped their clients. My specialisms include working with children and adults with complex brain and spinal injuries, as well as disabled access housing adaptations. I am passionate that if the house is fully adapted for my clients needs they can overcome many of the obstacles they are currently facing. I like to meet potential clients and talk to them about my experience of supporting other clients.
Another important factor is to discuss their working days and hours. If you are only available on a Monday and Wednesday to meet your case manager and they only work on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday it is going to be difficult to get the best outcome for you.
What about costs if I don’t have a claim?
Even for clients who do not have claims input from a case manager for an assessment as to what could be available and accessed could be a valuable use of funds (however limited). The case manager can either be heavily involved, have minimal input or be purely advisory. There are many options available and at the bare minimum all individuals who have sustained a life changing incident should seek input from a case manager to see if assistance can be provided.
The answer is that the case manager can assess not only your needs but your family’s needs and identify resources which may be of benefit to you. The wealth of experience and knowledge that case managers have mean that you may have access to resources which you never knew existed. It is personalised for you and your family, and the support that can be offered is endless.
Aside from the practical problem-solving nature of Case management, the right Case management support can offer a family a significant amount of emotional support. It can be an enduring working relationship, so it is essential families have a choice and decide to work with a Case manager that feels that she/he gets them and is there to take some of the pressure off. Kerry commented that she doesn’t think that she has had one client that hasn’t called her at some point tearful, stressed or overwhelmed and needed someone to listen, help and support them through this.
On a recent case which Kerry and I have worked on, Kerry has commissioned the following services to assist our client.
- Arranged private medical reviews due to long NHS waiting times enabling the client’s needs to be assessed and resolved in a timely manner.
- Arranged management of therapy and specialist equipment quotes, invoices and insurance taking the pressure of the client to manage all this paperwork.
- Arranged for an architect to assess and draw up plans to create a wheelchair accessible bathroom as well as safer access in out of the home.
These changes have completely transformed the client’s life and meant that she has access to resources that will facilitate her independence and improve her quality of life.
Case Management has existed for over 20 years and is constantly evolving and adapting to meet the needs of individuals. Given this it should not be underestimated and clients with life changing injuries should reach out to get support from a case manager at an early opportunity.
Join us in due course for further blogs where we consider specific considerations of case managers in relation to care, therapies and work.