At Breakthrough our Case Managers understand personal injury, major trauma and complex care. When we meet a new client and their family for the first time, they often know very little about case management services. And they are frequently unsure why they might need a Case Manager. They have experienced a significant or catastrophic injury and are scared, overwhelmed and confused.
In the midst of this life changing situation, they will have been given names of case management companies by their solicitor. Or they’ve tried to search for options on the internet themselves. It’s a highly pressurised, uncertain and unfamiliar situation. Life has changed and trying to make sense of so much new information is exhausting.
As Case Managers, we don’t have a widely understood job. We’re not a familiar household name, like a physiotherapist, nurse or doctor. Most people don’t know what a Case Manager does – until they need one. At that point, individuals and their families are living through a crisis. They’ve been bombarded with information and don’t yet understand the legal and rehabilitation process. We’re here to guide them through their recovery and get life back on track.
When the decision is made and a case management company has been selected, from the very first meeting we are here. To allay the client’s fears, answer their questions and provide reassurance. This isn’t just for the individual who has experienced a life changing injury. A Case Manager’s role is to support the whole family, whose lives have also changed. We are their guide through the rehabilitation journey, whatever that might look like, to provide direction and share the load. There will be bumps in the road but our job is to make sure things keep on moving.
For instance, we often find when families first come to us, they may feel stuck and have seen little progress or movement in their case to date. There are a lot of people involved, including solicitors, lawyers, insurers and multiple medical professionals. With no clear co-ordination or leadership, weeks or months can pass with very little action, progress or change.
We’re the cavalry. A Case Manager takes away some of the stress by making sure things start to happen. We work with all the different parties involved so our clients and their families start to get the support they need in the short term. And we start to put a plan in place for the long term.
Our clients often feel emotional at the end of their first case management meeting. There’s a sense of relief that someone is there to help make sense of things. An expert who understands their situation, has supported others to navigate their way through similar challenges, and is now there to help them get through it.
After our first meeting, we make an immediate needs assessment (INA) or initial case management report (ICM). This includes comprehensive recommendations for rehabilitation, therapy and care. It forms the basis for a long-term rehabilitation and care plan. With a Case Manager overseeing a team of professionals to set realistic goals and ensure progress is made towards achieving them.
Case management services might also include liaising with non-clinical disciplines, such as:
· Architects or builders to make necessary alterations to the home.
· Vocational experts to support an individual’s return to work.
· Sports or personal trainers to help someone resume their hobbies.
· Schools, teachers, local authorities (LAs) or SpecialEducational Needs (SEN) assessors to support the journey back into education.
· Complementary therapists to support mental health and wellbeing.
For anyone who has experienced a life changing injury, their case is complex. But some cases we deal with are more complex than others in terms of the support and care required. We are experienced in brain injury case management and spinal injury case management, for example. In these complex cases, extensive rehabilitation and care in the home are needed. Often over the long term. Significant co-ordination of multiple support services is also needed in the complex case management of major orthopaedic trauma.
The purpose of a Case Manager in these situations is to help an individual regain their quality of life. Breakthrough Case Managers ensure the environment is right for each client, and we provide complex care support at home so functional rehabilitation can continue every day. We lead the multi-disciplinary team involved in the long-term rehabilitation plan setting SMART goals together which are reviewed and updated regularly.
A good Case Manager will always be an excellent communicator, and this is a crucial element of the case management process. At Breakthrough, our Case Managers are the lynchpin of every client’s rehabilitation journey.
Of course, every single case is different. Every individual and every family has different needs and is facing a unique set of challenges. Through all of this, we know our clients are more than their injury. Personal identities are so wrapped up in how people perceive us – our jobs, our hobbies, our social life. A catastrophic injury can have an incredibly profound effect by taking these things away. As Case Managers we look beyond this, to see the individual and help them achieve their unique potential.