The need for Case Management stems from the complex and potentially confusing overlap between the physical, social and psychological consequences of a serious injury. An effective Case Manager can focus the available resources on you as an individual, avoiding overlap of services, or the provision of unwanted help and equipment. Perhaps more common are the gaps that all too often occur when one organisation assumes, incorrectly, that another is providing a service, therapy or treatment. This problem is encountered time and time again, especially between the respective duties of the NHS and local authority to provide care.
A Case Manager acts as a hub, liaising with the numerous organisations concerned with your medical treatment, therapies, care, specialist equipment companies, and welfare benefits. Whilst some people prefer to make all of these arrangements themselves, many find it a struggle to understand how all of these services should fit together and the myriad of regulations behind them. This maze of services can be confusing to even the most organised of people. For those with an additional need for support, because of the severity of their injury, age, lack of a close family network, or other background factors, an experienced person to turn to for help can make a lot of difference.
You may have come across a Case Manager in your Spinal Injuries Centre or hospital, where they assist with discharge planning and reintegration issues. Unfortunately, they are unable to offer an intensive service post-discharge as their attention inevitably has to move on to their new patients.
An increasing number of people are seeking the help of a Case Manager to assist them and their family with the many arrangements which they need to make consequent to spinal cord injury, to ensure that they get the best available rehabilitation, care services and support. However, in the past it has been difficult to identify individuals with suitable experience of spinal cord injury. The Case Management Society of the UK (CMSUK), now embraces people with the experience spinal cord injured people will need and many of the members of the British Association of Brain Injury Case Managers (BABICM) also provide spinal cord injury case management service.
Case Managers are usually qualified as occupational therapists, psychologists, hospital discharge co-ordinators or nurses.
Case Managers usually charge for their time by the hour. Before you employ anyone, check their rate and ask about travelling time and expenses and whether they charge VAT, as all these may be hidden extras.
SIA has produced its first Guide to assist you in choosing a Case Manager. It lists Case Management firms with a proven track record of dealing with SCI people. You can obtain a copy of the Guide free of charge from our shop.
Please let us know if you successfully use a Case Manager.