Our top priority for paediatric case management is the same as adult case management – the client is at the heart of everything we do. What is different for our specialist paediatric Case Managers is that mum, dad and siblings are also a priority. How the whole family want to live, what they want and need, is so important.
It’s hugely stressful for parents of a child or young person who has experienced a life changing injury. This could be the result of accidental harm and injury, medical negligence, or an injury before, during or shortly after birth. The remit of a paediatric Case Manager is wide, including work with children and young people who have cerebral palsy. The role includes supporting families experiencing the daily challenge of managing a wide range of mental and physical disabilities.
Our paediatric Case Managers make a point to never go into a family situation with preconceived ideas. We embrace mum and dad’s parenting style, never interfere and are always respectful of the way they want to live. We will never intrude or tell parents what to do – only advise. It’s vital to building trust and an effective relationship.
And that trust delivers results. It’s incredible what can be achieved together – quality of life is a ‘whole of the family’ priority.
Dealing with a legal claim on top of the pressure of being a parent to a disabled child is hard. A lot of people are involved – solicitors, insurers, and what can seem like an endless stream of different health professionals. Later on and as case management begins, more new faces are introduced as education, housing and a host of other considerations become priorities.
When we first meet a family, they can often feel defensive. They are living through and coping with huge changes to all their lives. They understandably often feel judged by so many people asking questions, advising, and telling them what to do. It is a difficult and emotional time. Our paediatric Case Managers work hard to help parents understand what’s happening, and the process involved.
This includes explaining the role of the different individuals and companies who they need to talk to and what they are trying to achieve. Because ultimately, the goal of everyone involved is to understand the difficulties a family is facing and the best way to provide the support they need.
Equally, when a care plan is in place, we liaise with all the professionals involved and make sure everything is happening as it should be. Complex case management for children and young adults can involve a large multi-disciplinary team (MDT) of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, bladder and bowel specialists, speech and language therapists, orthotists, dentists, and music / play therapists.
Many of our paediatric Case Managers bring unique and relatable personal experience from their own family backgrounds. Along with the life experience needed to best understand and empathise with what parents are going through.
One of the most rewarding things about being a paediatric Case Manager is watching a child or young person mature and grow into a young adult. A good Case Manager bringing together a skilled MDT can do so much to optimise the potential of a child and avoid complications in the future.
Often the extent and impact of an injury becomes clearer as a child gets older. The gap between a child and their peers will become more obvious and the level of support required increases as they grow. For example, it’s a lot easier to carry a baby to the car than it is a teenager. Our experienced paediatric Case Managers understand and anticipate these challenges and changing needs.
The move from child to adult healthcare services can also be a worrying time for parents. Again, that’s where paediatric case management comes in. The level of support available often drops off as a child moves to adult services and we’re here to help navigate families through the change. We proactively work to ensure every young person gets the support they need. Whether that’s getting the right school place mentor advocating with a Local Authority for additional educational support.
Many of our clients go on to higher education, learn to drive and hold down jobs. It is about enabling these amazing children to reach their full potential.
Before we match a family with a Case Manager, we share profiles of all our paediatric Case Managers for them to choose from. An initial meet and greet before any decision is made makes sure we all get on and will work well together.
We know that when a family lets us into their life it is a real privilege.It’s important they feel comfortable with their Case Manager and case management company. Because we have the potential to do so much to improve quality of life, for the child and their whole family.
For example, we are extremely fortunate to work with an inspirational young lady who experienced an injury while in utero. She is now 21 and to see her drive a car and work is wonderful. These might be typical achievements for many people but for someone with a brain injury they are enormous.
Another young man we have worked with since the age of 14 was unable to drink from a cup without dribbling or would often vomit back his meal. With the input of a speech and language therapist, and hard work on the part of the boy and his parents, he is able to drink from a cup and eat without difficulty. He is now 18 and his favourite thing to do is to go out for lunch with his mum.
We get to see communication and speech become part of a child’s life and the huge impact moving to a suitable home can have on a young person. Every teenager wants more independence and being able to wheel their own chair around the house or cook a meal for themselves in an adapted kitchen is transformative.
We champion all the children and young people we work with. They are amazing. Our purpose is to be supportive and ensure their physical and emotional needs are met – so the child makes maximum progress, and the family is able to live a happy and fulfilling life.