Case managers are an integral part of healthcare and patient care, and case management is a collaborative process to help patients and families navigate care coordination. Case managers meet with patients, work to understand their needs, and connect them to the appropriate resources.
October 9-15 is National Case Management week, and to celebrate, I think back on some of the titles I have heard to replace Case Manager: plate spinner, chaos coordinator, or as one patient affectionally put it, ‘my angel’ – but none sum it up quite as well as “Care Manager”.
At Shields, our Care Management of Worcester Team is the epitome of caring. We are a small but mighty team who has been providing Ambulatory Care Management services to the UMass Accountable Care Organization – focusing on providing high-quality care and resources to people living in Central Massachusetts.
The Shields Integrated Care Model is the foundation of everything we do. We develop trusted partnerships with our physicians and take care of every patient as if they were our loved ones. Well-founded relationships allow us to get to the business of case management, defined as “a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy”.
Our Care Managers work with the most medically and socially complex patients and their providers to help meet an individual’s comprehensive health needs. It can be difficult for a person to focus on their diabetes management if they’re dealing with an asthmatic family member breathing in mold at home. Often, physicians don’t have the time to dive into the root cause of why a patient may be overutilizing services or failing conventional therapies – and that’s where a care manager is hugely beneficial.
Our care managers can focus their efforts on the big picture, looking at primary care, specialties, utilization patterns, social determinants of health, family dynamics, cultural and religious beliefs – and anything else that may impact a patient’s health care journey. They work with the patient on small, attainable, patient-stated goals that greatly impact the quality of life and disease management.
These efforts improve patient engagement and self-management skills, increase patient and provider satisfaction, decrease unnecessary utilization and total medical expenditure … and, of course, as a bonus, it just feels good to care!