Pat Stricker, RN, MEd

Senior Vice President

Since Case Management Week is celebrated the 2nd week of October and this newsletter is released the 3rd week of the month, it seems that I always have to wish you a belated Happy National Case Management Week. However this year, I would like to take the opportunity to extend National Case Management Week to a “Month”. Why not? That way I can wish you a “Happy Case Management Month” instead of a belated Happy Case Management Week.

You deserve recognition for all the important contributions you make throughout the year! Your dedication, commitment, and passion for working with patients/clients and their families to educate, empower, and enable them to make informed decisions – moving them towards wellness. This makes a tremendous difference in their lives and is also invaluable to the health care delivery system by improving the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of care. Case Managers act as advocates, educators, coordinators, facilitators, navigators, and resource managers to help patients/clients understand and manage their condition, find and gain access to services, and obtain high quality, cost-effective care. That sounds like it deserves a month-long recognition to me. How about you?

In addition to recognizing all case managers, I would also like to recognize and congratulate all the care management team members who support the Case Managers. Together you make a terrific team, and without your assistance the Case Managers would find it very difficult to carry out their work.

case management weeekThis year’s theme is “Moving Patients to Wellness”, which is a perfect description of what case managers have been doing for over half a century and will continue to do in the future. The role and importance of case management continues to increase each year and it has become a foundation of the health care delivery system. Case management is being used in more and more settings and types of programs. CMSA has worked diligently to ensure the role of the professional case manager is known and respected by all health care professionals, policy makers, and consumers. In addition, we must also take every opportunity to let others know what we do and how our role improves the outcomes of our patients/clients and the entire healthcare system.

The practice of case management is not easy, but it is definitely rewarding. Patients/clients and families develop personal relationships with their case manager because of their deep commitment to helping them through difficult times. The following are testimonials from patients/clients and family members relating their feelings about their case manager, their attributes, and how they have helped “move them to wellness”. I’m sure you can all relate to these comments and have probably received similar comments from your patients/clients and their families.

  1. “Know that you are doing meaningful work and helping people more than you know. I have seen you work with [patients] and believe you always try to do your best to get the best care possible.” [i]
  2. “I am not sure he would still be alive, but for his nurse’s advocacy on his behalf.”
  3. “I gained an accountability partner and a coach to help me assess my condition and set small, practical goals for myself. This helped me to achieve my greater goal of managing the disease that took the lives of family members very close and dear to me. ……has enabled me, in just one year, to make significant changes in my life.  As a result, I’ve lowered my blood sugar and for the first time, I feel in control.” [ii]
  4. “I worked one-on-one with both a nurse care manager and a registered dietician to learn how this condition [diabetes] and different foods affect my body so that I can take better care of myself. The encouragement and support I encountered …. gave me the confidence I needed to see me through my plan, and to make real changes to my diet and in my life.”
  5. “You have gone out of your way to help me understand the whole process and have guided my steps. I do hope that your company truly appreciates the gem that you are!” [iii]
  6. “She is a case manager who truly respects and advocates for her clients! She is passionate, caring and hard-working which makes her an excellent case manager who works well with all types of individuals and families.” [iv]
  7. “She is tenacious in seeking the best care for her clients and is extremely capable in using all resources to ensure the best quality care.”
  8. “I know I could not have navigated all the medical requirements and decisions without [her] guidance…… I believe that [she] and other case managers are an integral part of a successful recovery.” [v]
  9. “The person most responsible for getting my dad and mom into nursing care 2 years ago was [CM’s name]. I am convinced that without her getting dad out of the house and into [name of facility], and the subsequent care given to him by the nurses, nurse’s aides, doctor, and therapists; I would not have had these extra two years to enjoy my dad.” [vi]
  10. “I was looking for a way to get hernamed “Best [Case] Manager in the world,” when it struck me that a letter to her boss describing the water that she walked on in dealing with my brother would be a more productive use of my time.”
  11. “She is helpful, has great attention to detail, is attentive, and a good communicator. She is proactive with communication rather than reactive and she follows up.” [vii]
  12. “She is wonderful to come up with new and different ideas for helping our son achieve success in his endeavors. She is just simply a member of our family and we love her.”
  13. “She instructed me on everything I needed to do! She has taken away the stress and confusion I had over navigating [the State’s] waiver policies. Her knowledge, compassion, and friendly demeanor demonstrates to me that being a case manager is not just a job to her. This is her passion, and her genuine concern shows through at all times.”
  14. “She is very knowledgeable and a great advocate. You can tell how much she cares about the individuals she works with as well as their families. That level of dedication is truly inspiring.”
  15. “My sister has a real life Guardian Angel caring for her! I cannot thank [name of CM] enough, because it all starts from her!”
  16. “She goes above and beyond for all of the individuals she serves. Her follow up on issues is exceptional. She is a true asset to the teams she is on.”
  17. “We really can’t thank you enough. You were charming, patient, collaborative, and extremely knowledgeable and a great teacher. What a combination!” [viii]
  18. “She was there the whole time – helping me and talking to me. She is an angel. You people are lucky to have her.” [ix]
  19. “She is an efficient communicator, expert in resolving and identifying management of our daughter’s illness and a skilled listener.”
  20. “The [case managers organization] ably guided a family member through the health care maze in New York City and kept me updated every step of the way, even though I live in Nebraska. They were knowledgeable, compassionate and also had a sense of humor. Who could ask for more!” [x]
  21. “Their unique blend of professional sensitivity, medical expertise, and personal attentiveness made all the difference in my mother’s end-of-life care. They were literally on the case—reassuring my mother, directing home caregiving, and keeping me sane!”

In addition to comments from patients/clients and families, the following comments from case managers exemplify their feelings about their patients/clients, their case management role, and the rewarding aspects of their case management profession. I’m sure you can all relate to these comments.

  1. “The most enjoyable part of the job is knowing you have made a difference in someone’s life and have provided a good customer experience.” [xi]
  2. “I see [my role as a case manager] as a project manager really. Putting together lots and lots of pieces….. I do love it despite all of the pitfalls. Every day is different. Every client is different. And I think it’s the challenge and meeting those challenges which is my driving point. A lot of people say to me ‘How can you do this work?’ They focus on the negativity, …… but I focus on how I can help that person achieve.” [xii]
  3. “I’m the ‘go-to-girl’, ……. because often that’s the way case management operates. We are problem solvers and hopefully in doing our job we take a lot of the stress and pressure off both the clients and their family. I love my work. I love that every day is different….. I put a lot of work into developing a relationship and trying to find out what the client wants, ……….because sometimes when a client has a disability people stop listening……They tell the client what they should do whereas often the client has quite strong beliefs about what they want as well. And really that’s the important thing.”
  4. “I see my job …. as making myself redundant. [I tell my clients that] if I have done my job well you will no longer need me because the structures have been put in place for you to live independently and for you to be able to manage your own [condition]….. They may need me for a few years to set things up until they gain confidence in and understanding of what they need and how to achieve it. ….. I’ve done a good job if I can walk away and the client’s happy.”
  5. “I very much enjoy seeing the progress of the clients. A lot of these clients have been people that have lost all their independence and have in a very short period of time gone through a very tragic, catastrophic event. [I love] to see them gain their independence and start to interact and participate in community.”
  6. “My favorite part of my job is helping others reach their goals. It’s truly life changing. I work with some great teams, and it’s so rewarding to see everyone come together! [xiii]
  7. “I totally enjoy my job…….I enjoy getting to know my folks, and their families. I enjoy seeing individuals progress from day to day, and celebrating that progress with them. Case Management can be a challenging job, but the rewards definitely outweigh the challenges.”
  8. “My favorite part of my job is being able to work with many different people and learning about their lives and where they want to go. I am so excited when things come together for the individuals I serve.”
  9. “It absolutely makes my day to hear about the accomplishments of the individuals on my caseload and I am so proud to get to have a part in their lives and helping them achieve their goals and dreams!”
  10. “I absolutely love my job, even when under stress; it brings me joy to help those that I serve.”
  11. “Simply helping others is what my journey was about, but the individuals I have worked with have taught me so much more through their strength, goals and desires.”

Additional insights into case management and the lives of case managers can be found in the complimentary e-book, Profiles in Case Management, from the Health Intelligence Network. It provides in-depth interviews from six case managers working in different settings. It outlines their background, skills, choices they made, and their successes. It also touches on trends in case management and some of the challenges that lay ahead. I highly recommend this uplifting article. It’s perfect for Case Management Week (or the week after CM Week or for “CM Month”). I’m sure you will be able to relate to their experiences.

Thank you all again for the wonderful work you do. Keep it up and CONGRATULATIONS!

Comments from Patients/Clients and Families

[i]  1-2

[ii] 3-4

[iii] 5

[iv] 6-7

[v]  8

[vi] 9-10

[vii] 11-16

[viii] 17

[ix] 18-19

[x] 20-21

Comments from Case Managers

[xi] #1

[xii] 2-5

[xiii] 6-11