Case Management Focus: Don't Forget the Caregiver

                               

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Case managers who work with complex/catastrophic patients have two people to 'case manage' the injured worker and the Caregiver. Both have different needs and are handled differently. By working effectively with the Caregiver and the injured worker, you improve communications, care coordination, and transition of care so they are safer and more efficient. Here are some tips that I have learned over the years. 

Listen - most times, caregivers know the injured worker well and can help provide insight into their lives; that is helpful as they recuperate and reintegrate to their lives. 

The Caregiver will usually be the spouse, but if there is no spouse, the Caregiver could be another family member or trusted friend. Ask for their input and suggestions. Please include them in all conversations, so they are up-to-date and informed as to the plan of care. 

Help them set realistic expectations while also encouraging hope. Help them understand how the system works and to use their voice as they advocate for their loved one. 

Keep the Caregiver informed as to the plan of care. They can help make sure the plan of care is working. If there are challenges, they will know first and can alert you so you can make changes and alert the care team. Proactivity is critical to identifying issues early and avoiding complications and setbacks. 

Check with the Caregiver before making appointments. Make sure they can get the injured worker ready if that is needed. Check to make sure they don't have something they need to do. Be respectful of their time. 

Caring for a complex patient is hard for everyone involved. Check-in with the Caregiver. Do they need some time off? Is there a backup? If not, who would they trust to step in to help them? 

Inform the team who the Caregiver is and have them invite the person in to learn and be part of the team. 

Be aware of the strain between the Caregiver and the injured workers. Being a caregiver is hard, and so is being a patient, significantly when things disrupt their lives. 

Listen, be attentive, and, if needed, bring the issues to the care team. 

Be sensitive to the injured worker and the Caregiver; both have a lot on their minds and need your support.

What has your experience been when working with complex patients and their caregivers? Share your experiences, and I will add your tips to a future post. 

Thank you for doing what you do. 

Have a good week! 

 


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