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    Finding a Good Case Manager


    “I feel your pain”

    When I hear this phrase I inwardly groan for two reasons.  Firstly, it sounds as genuine as “have a nice day.” Secondly, it’s shorthand for “I will try to be sympathetic.” In truth, few may fully understand clients’ feelings, but some can empathize with their experiences, bridging the gap in understanding. Matching a suitable case manager with clients is crucial for successful rehabilitation, particularly for head-injured individuals, across all injury types.

    Why is that the case?  It is the brain which dictates

    • All that you are
    • All that you do
    • All that you say

    Despite even a severe brain injury, much of a person’s personality, fundamental beliefs, and interests often remain, though they may be hidden. For professionals to empathise and meet a client’s recovery and future needs, they must truly understand the client’s background.

    Currently, the Case Manager for a client may be selected based on:

    • Geography – it is important that the Case Manager can regularly make contact with the client.
    • Clinical experience – the Case Manager must understand the diagnosis and prognosis

    From our experience, there is a third issue which should be taken into consideration.

    Does the case manager share any of the client’s background or interests?  We were involved in a case where this became an essential selection criteria.

    An elite cyclist was knocked down while on a training ride. They suffered serious brain and physical injuries which would radically affect the rest of their life. It was going to be a high-value claim with a very long slow rehabilitation, this became more drawn out by the client’s frequent rejection of the case manager. Eventually, a team was identified in which the key players were keen cyclists. They could discuss things in a more relatable way, set targets in context and understand what objectives the client would respond to.

    This example is based on a cyclist and some larger firms have identified specialists to handle specific injuries but there may be other aspects of a client’s personality and background which will affect their attitude to the rehabilitation process.

    We conclude that firms of all sizes need to consider the whole person before identifying clinical professionals, particularly in the case of head injuries. In our experience, it makes the process more productive and satisfactory for all those involved. 

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