Blog

Mental Health Awareness Month: Utilizing Case Management in Mental Health Treatment

Authored by: The Center for Case Management, May 2022

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 American adults experience a mental illness in their lifetime. The global pandemic added grief and stress that contributed to the increase in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. As healthcare professionals see a rise in patients with psychosocial issues—it is important to involve case managers that can help manage these issues.

 

Assessing Patient Needs

Case managers assess patients to ensure their needs are being met. When mental health concerns are prevalent, patients need specialized care to make sure the issues are being addressed and, most importantly, they are being educated on the best support available to them. With the proper assessment tools, case managers guide the patient to the resources most beneficial to them.

 

Creating a Treatment Plan

Having the right resources and tools, case managers take a look at areas in the patient’s life that cause stress and offer solutions to help them manage their day-to-day. Developing the best treatment plan is especially important for patients that experience mental health issues. Case managers are equipped to address the areas in a patient’s life that may trigger the mental health concerns–such as work/life balance and financial issues. Working alongside the patient and their families/support systems, case managers discuss options readily available to patients and educate them on how said options meet the patient’s needs.

Putting the Pieces Back Together

Case managers strive to ensure people are making the best use of the mental services available to them. Taking an individualized approach to how the patient is treated, case managers help establish goals and develop strategies that focus on the improvement of the patient’s mental health.

In hospitals and other healthcare settings, case managers are here to help. With continued advocacy for awareness and education, there is hope for improvement in psychosocial patient treatment.

Contact our team to find out more about our case management and psychosocial support services.

Case Management and the Emergency Department

Authored by: The Center for Case Management, March/April 2022

Photo Courtesy: iStock

As emergency departments face overcrowding issues, patients are experiencing exaggerated wait times—often overlooked due to capacity limits. Hospital-wide staffing shortages and burnout also contribute to poor quality patient care and hospital flow; leaving many wondering how the system can be improved. At The Center for Case Management, we believe the first step in addressing major ED concerns is implementing best practice case management assessments.

Heidi Rohloff, Nurse Practitioner in Emergency Medicine and CFCM Consultant, has a firsthand look at the poor outcomes currently associated with problems emergency departments are experiencing. ED staff are finding limited beds to be a dominant challenge, especially with the increase of sick patients.

“I had a patient in the ED from October 1st to the second week in December—that’s over 60 days,” Rohloff shared.

According to Rohloff, prolonged periods of hospital stay prevent many patients from receiving beds and adequate care. Patients staying for lengthened amounts of time are often exposed, and made vulnerable, to other illnesses—causing more concerns for ED staff.

“Increased referrals to the ER make it difficult to provide the best patient care,” Rohloff stated. “Case management is key to assessing patients and their care needs.”

Case managers facilitate and assess opportunities for patients by creating sustainable discharge plans. Improved case management practices, such as linking sustainable transitions, provide high-utilizer interventions and help dissipate readmissions alongside the nurse and care coordinator teams. These implementation services ultimately help create effective plans and solutions for patients who are huge utilizers of the ER.

Utilization management is another key component in improving challenges seen in the ER. Utilization nurses take a “big picture” approach to patient care. Together, case managers and utilization nurses pull resources and information needed to determine whether patients should be kept in the ER or provided better alternatives.

“Providers are doing the best they can with the current circumstances, but there are ways in which improvement can be made,” said Rohloff.

As challenges in the ED continue to arise, the need for restructuring and streamlining case management practices to improve patient flow is greater than ever before.

 
Are you looking to improve your health organization’s outcomes? Contact our team to find out more about our services.

The Benefits of Utilizing Case Management and Social Work: Addressing Heart Disease

Authored by: The Center for Case Management, February 2022

According to the CDC, one person dies from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds in the United States. During American Heart Month, we work toward increasing awareness about the statistics related to heart disease and ways to prevent it. In hospital systems, case managers and social workers play an important role in helping patients improve their cardiovascular health. Here’s what we know:

Social Workers and Teaching Patient Coping Skills

The role of the social worker is to help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives—and that’s no different when it comes to heart health. Managing stress levels is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. It is especially important for women to pay attention to their stress as heart disease is a leading cause of death for women in the United States. Social workers aid individuals in identifying the stressors in their lives, providing effective coping skills to prevent heart disease and issues related to those stressors.

Case Managers and Providing Awareness

Case managers seek to organize, facilitate and help others find the best care and solutions for their health. With heart health, case managers can provide patients with tools to recognize symptoms of heart disease before it progresses. Heart disease is easier to treat when patients recognize the signs early. Case managers provide the proper education for detecting heart problems and ways to communicate those issues to others.

This article is dedicated to Beverly Teneholz.

Are you interested in learning more about our case management and social work services? Contact us today.

 

​The Intersectionality Between Healthcare Technology and Patient Care:

Bridging the Health Inequities Gap Through Improved Data Systems

 

Authored By: The Center for Case Management, January 2022

The Center for Case Management CARTBoard™

CARTBoard™ is an advanced healthcare data system that provides efficiency scores for hospitals and health systems.

 

As hospitals look towards solutions for improved patient care, The Center for Case Management is utilizing their data system—CARTBoard™—to develop outcomes and help close the gap on health inequities.

CARTBoard™ is an advanced healthcare data system that provides efficiency scores for hospitals. Jeff Echternach, Technology Officer for The Center for Case Management, said he and the CFCM team developed the system with the priority of improvement of patient outcomes.

Echternach believes that with proper insights and data can, hospitals can identify and bridge the gaps within their health organizations—leading to positive change.

“CARTBoard™ provides health systems with the analytics that point them in the direction they want to go in,” Echternach stated. “The system allows health systems to streamline data and find ways to help their hospitals standardize to the same methodology—resulting in assessing patients properly and providing the best care.”

With the proper process and technology involved, patient identification can be streamlined to ensure potential risk factors are assessed and that patients are receiving resources and information relevant to their case—beginning with screening questions.

Patient responses to screening questions can help identify if a more in-depth questionnaire is needed. After responses are added to medical records, they can then be delivered to the appropriate screening individual (social worker, case manager) for further assessment.

      For example, Patient A (facing homelessness) and Patient B (stable home-life) visit the same healthcare provider for flu-like symptoms. If the healthcare provider approaches Patient A and Patient B in the same manner but is unaware of Patient A’s situation, the healthcare provider might miss the opportunity to provide Patient A with adequate care.

Screening tools can start with simple, social determinants of health scale featuring categories that determine whether a patient is safe and stable—leading to counsel and resources that will help them. The more information and details obtained, the better chance of creating a proper discharge plan.

“A hospital discharging a patient that has some limited mobility and a bad heart failure diagnosis, and during screening, says there is a financial concern—the provider should try to address those gaps,” said Jeff Echternach.

After measuring the social determinants scale, results can then be converted into an aggregated score that helps to communicate any risks involved. Echternach said that offering solutions—such as charity medication—could help patients experiencing struggles such as financial issues. However, the best way to know if a patient needs help is by asking the right screening questions. Outside of financial concerns, patients’ needs can range from transportation to housing resources.

According to Echternach, taking the risk scores and stratifying higher scores and lower scores can help determine outcomes for populations. For example, looking at patients that have a very high-risk score in homelessness, a health system might want to know how those patients rank on their acute hospital length of stay. Hospitals could also look at how that score might compare to a population that has a lower score.

Taking it a step further, risk score data enables health systems to see how their various hospital populations compare, discovering what they can do differently to improve outcomes and patient care at other hospitals.

As hospitals face internal challenges, such as staffing shortages, workflow systems can equip case management and social work departments with the best tools for responding and scoring effectively.

Are you looking to improve your health organization’s outcomes? Explore our data and technology offerings here.