MedWatch Today: How the Case Management Department Helps Patients Navigate Thru the Healthcare System

Med Watch Today

We’ve all had to experience a hospital visit at one point or another in our lives and during that process, you may not have realized there’s a team of people dedicated to advocating for your safety, quality of care, and for cost effective outcomes for you and your family’s health needs. That team is the case management department.

Emma Rasmussen is the manager of Case Management & Social Services at Community Regional Medical Center and Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital. She stated, “So I think if anything that people need to know is that there is a system in place to help patients and families navigate the healthcare system and that’s what case management does. Whether it’s educating them on the levels of care, providing them resources to care for themselves or their families afterwards, to help them navigating a system that can be very complex and overwhelming when you’re already in a stressful situation.”

Emma said case management is the link from the doctor to the patient and vice versa.

“When doctors know that the patient is in need of something, but they’re not exactly sure where to find it or where to direct them, they rely on the case management staff to help facilitate and answer those questions as well as all members of that treatment team,” commented Emma.

Each role of the team plays a vital piece of the discharge planning process, from the social-emotional aspect all the way to the practical–helping the patient move on to that continuum of care. The team consists of a social worker, a RN case manager and a discharge navigator.

Brandy Jenkins is a discharge navigator supervisor at Community Regional. She said, “As a discharge navigator supervisor, my team is responsible for arranging services for patients to leave the hospital. So, they’re the ones who send out for skilled nursing placement, home health referrals, getting them durable medical equipment, they do help in the beginning part of the discharge as well with helping with the initial assessments and things like that.”

With the social worker addressing the patient’s social aspects or barriers, the RN is ensuring that clinically the patient will move on to the appropriate level of care and then the discharge navigator brings it all together. But, overall the team is in place as a resource for every patient.

“We’ll help everybody. I mean, we are a community hospital. So, we try to do our best and we help everybody. For the people that have the most amazing insurance, to the person who doesn’t have any insurance. So as a whole for case management, that’s what we are,” said Brandy.

And many take great notice and appreciation.

Brandy continued, “So we’ve had family members come back out and reach out to us as leadership and be like, we’re so grateful for your social worker, we’re so grateful for your RN for all the hard work that they did for us so that kind of stuff makes you feel really good about it.”

“I think that’s important for patients and families to know that they don’t have to do this by themselves and that there’s a team in place, a whole department that’s there to ensure that for them,” ended Emma.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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