The role of the professional case manager is changing rapidly. Health reform has called upon the industry to ensure that care delivered is efficient, effective, high quality and low cost. Never in our history has the role and the function of the professional case manager been more important. The expectations of today’s case manager are evolving and the experts in policy, research and industry are talking with the Commission about changes affecting case management practice.
The Commission’s Issue Briefs are offered as part of the CMLearning Network®. Each publication covers topics that are timely and relevant to today’s professional case manager. If you would like a hard copy of an Issue Brief for your staff, or for use at a meeting, we can send you a limited amount at no charge. Simply make your request by filling out the form in the sidebar, and we'll be happy to send them to you.
The Issue Briefs displayed below are the most recent.
Conversations about end-of-life planning are surprisingly as much about the “life” part as the “end.” As part of the research for her book, Scripting Death: Stories of Assisted Dying in America, Mara Buchbinder, Ph.D., became intimately familiar with the heartfelt and often difficult conversations between people facing death, their loved ones, and their providers. Her book chronicles two years of ethnographic research documenting the implementation of Vermont’s Patient Choice and Control at End of Life law (Act 39).
While conducting her research, the professor of social medicine and adjunct professor of anthropology, who serves as core faculty in the UNC Center for Bioethics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, collected hundreds of stories about the desire for choice and control at the end of life. What she learned, she says, not only involves decisions about death, but about living fully at the end.
Our lack of social connection is creating an “epidemic of loneliness” that threatens our individual and collective health. That’s not just a general observation: It comes directly from the US Surgeon General. The 82-page report from his office - Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation - articulates the problem and identifies solutions. The researchers found that being socially connected not only enhances our emotional well-being but also profoundly impacts our physical health. “Health outcomes are intricately woven with the quality of our social connections,” says MaryBeth Kurland, MPA, CAE, ICE-CCP, CEO of the Commission for Case Manager Certification. “In today's fast-paced world, the significance of our interpersonal connections often goes unnoticed. Yet, our relationships and interactions with family, friends and colleagues play a monumental role in our overall health and well-being.” The fact that roughly half of US adults have reported feeling lonely in recent years--even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic—reveals a serious public health issue.
A strong health care team that collaborates well can drive safer care delivery and improve client outcomes. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes interprofessional collaboration as an evidence-based strategy to enable stronger collaborative practice. Interprofessional collaborative practice can improve quality of care, prevent medical errors, reduce length of stay, and lower costs. As key care coordinators and excellent communicators, case managers can be integral to effective interprofessional collaboration.
“The WHO has defined interprofessional collaboration as occurring when ‘multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, caregivers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care,’” says Vivian Campagna, DNP, RN-BC, CCM, ICE-CCP, Chief Industry Relations Officer at the Commission for Case Manager Certification. “It is a partnership that starts with the patient and includes all healthcare providers working together to deliver patient- and family-centric care.”
Case managers, especially geriatric case managers, heroically help advocate for senior clients as they age and face end-of-life challenges. A century ago, the average American’s life expectancy was 57 years. At that time, there was no Social Security and no Medicare or Medicaid (or, for the most part, any health insurance). Those benefit programs weren’t universally needed, as only a small percentage of Americans lived into their 80s. Over the last couple of decades, life expectancy has greatly increased (although it has decreased in recent years—partially due to deaths from COVID-19). Now that it is common for Americans to make it to their 80s, and now that most deaths are due to chronic illnesses rather than from infectious diseases (save for the aforementioned COVID-19), seniors living with frailty may need assistance as they face their last days. While Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurances help with some aspects of care near the end-of-life, they do not perfectly help families care for their seniors in the care setting they prefer.
As a certified case manager or disability management specialist, you’ve likely either encountered or will encounter a client who needs to change their behavior for the sake of their health. When people’s habits are entrenched, encouraging beneficial behavior change can feel like an uphill battle. Fortunately, motivational interviewing (MI) can serve as a useful tool to motivate clients to improve their wellbeing.
“Case managers should know that many therapists use MI techniques, and so they should consider referring clients who have a need to address problematic health behaviors for expert help,” says Patricia Nunez, MA, CRC, CDMS, CCM, director at the office of claim supply management at CNA Insurance. “Case managers and disability management specialists may wish to get MI training to enhance their communication and coaching of their clients.”