Vicki Gilman has taken up the post of chair of the British Association of Brain Injury & Complex Case Management (BABICM) at a hugely important time as case management moves into a new post-pandemic chapter, following an unprecedented period where case managers rose to the diverse challenges presented by COVID-19 and helped to create a new future.
A future where technology and virtual communication will feature like never before; where the need to work in collaboration has never been greater; and where the creation of the Institute of Registered Case Managers (IRCM) will enable registration of case managers for the first time.
While undoubtedly an exciting time with huge potential for case management, the challenges – and opportunities – for BABICM, as it too builds for the future on the foundations of its 25 years of expertise, are plenty.
“Becoming chair was something that was first suggested to me about three years ago, and at that time I had no idea, as no-one did, that we would all see such huge change in our lives,” Vicki tells NR Times.
“There were several things in the back of my mind then that I thought might be key themes – some of them remain the same despite what has happened since, although by no means all of them. I think a lot has been learned over the past 18 months that I don’t think we will go back from. So, in many ways, this marks a fresh start.
“I’m immensely proud of how the whole case management sector responded, how we stepped up to the challenges and with such speed. Case managers are used to looking at complex scenarios in unique circumstances and working to find ways forward within the context of each case.
“The pandemic served up additional challenges which prompted a lot of innovation and different and new thinking, with plenty of opportunities.
“As ever in case management we have taken the learning from everything we do, but this time case managers – along with everyone else – were juggling the unique changes in their own lives such as homeschooling children and supporting friends, neighbours and family members whilst continuing with their highly complex and confidential work to support each individual case by case.”
Vicki, managing director of Social Return Case Management, takes over the BABICM chair from Angela Kerr, who is now chair of the IRCM. BABICM will continue to play a central role in the ongoing development of the body, as a founding member, which hopes to secure accreditation from the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) in the near future.
An experienced case manager, health entrepreneur and clinical specialist neurophysiotherapist, Vicki spent six years on the BABICM Council, returning last year for a preparatory period before taking the chair.
Building on her experience of specialist rehabilitation, expert witness work and case management and being part of BABICM, while taking inspiration from the events of the past 18 months and impending future changes, Vicki has identified a number of priorities to address during her time at the helm.
- Equity and belonging
“I have starting educating myself to a greater degree and have had a lot of conversations with people who know a lot more than me about equality, diversity and inclusion,” says Vicki.
“This is actually quite challenging and I don’t personally know enough yet. I do know that both the organisation and I need to do more. As I go on my journey, it is my aim to find allies and to bring other people into learning more with me. Together we can make BABICM better place.”
“It follows that our increasing membership means we have greater diversity, and it is not enough to say ‘We don’t discriminate’.”
Vicki says equity and belonging must be sentiments which underpin BABICM. “It is a really important to ensure a greater understanding is threaded through the work of BABICM,” she says.
“For me, equity means more than equality, and we want to help people feel they belong here. It’s not enough just to say these words.”
“We need to strengthen links we already have and collaborate with other organisations who are important to our members through the work they do,” says Vicki.
“Angela has done an amazing job to strengthen and move the organisation forward, of identifying organisations and allies we should be working in collaboration with and creating links with people at the right level – organisations such as the CQC, Court of Protection, UKABIF, some education establishments, to name but a few.
“There are lots of ways we can deepen and develop on that, and as we come out of the pandemic there will be more opportunities. Zoom calls are really time-saving and effective, but hopefully we will also have the option to do things in person again going forward.”
- The future as a profession with registration
One of the most significant changes in case management, the creation of the IRCM, is set to professionalise and regulate case managers in a sector-changing move.
“We will continue to support the goals and development of the IRCM, it is by no means done and we need to continue the work here,” says Vicki.
“We are fully supportive of the direction of travel and fully endorse registration for case managers. This is a way for the public to be protected specifically in the realm of case management and for case managers to be able to demonstrate that.”
- Training and learning
“I want to continue the development of the high-quality learning and training opportunities available to our membership, but also to those outside,” she says.
“We aim to keep it very relevant to current clinical and professional needs, keeping ahead of the curve and making sure that what we are offering is of the highest quality. As professionals working with complex cases, I can only see that need developing further.
“In the last few years BABICM has really showed its strength as the leading provider of education and training for case managers working with complex cases. The feedback we’ve received for our courses has been tremendous and that has continued even during the pandemic. Training will remain key and grow in importance.”
“I’m very keen to increase the involvement of BABICM and its membership in research around case management related issues. I want us to lead the way in with research into evidence-based practice for people with complex needs,” says Vicki.
BABICM has recently been involved in a number of research projects, working alongside the University of Plymouth. In yet to be published findings, the team has studied how case managers and clients alike have adapted to the pandemic.
“There is research out there which supports the work of case management, but we are taking greater responsibility to add to that evidence base and that is something I foresee will increase and needs our members to be involved in,” she says.
“This will of course add even further to our library of resources to support the work of case managers.”
- Providing useful resources to members
“I see us to stepping up in provision of information to assist across our membership within legal, clinical and professional aspects of their work,” says Vicki.
“Those involved in the case management of complexity and those working with case managers need resources that are tailored to their needs.
“We already do this in many ways via our website with recorded webinar content, upcoming training and development events, publishing our standards and competencies and signposting and links to other sources of support regular bulletins. Our website is proving a very useful resource library which is seeing growing traffic, as it assists our members and others.
“As our members apply for registration with the IRCM there will be an even greater requirement to demonstrate what case managers are doing and whether they are meeting the standards, so we need to continue to build relevant resources to support this need.”
New case management business launches
Keystone Case Management, led by Niccola Irwin, brings further support for clients with life-changing injuries
A new case management business has been created to help increase provision and support for people to build a new life after life-changing injury.
Keystone Case Management offers clinically-led case management and expert witness services and specialises in managing complex health and social care needs.
The venture, launched late last year, is led by managing director Niccola Irwin, who has over 20 years’ experience of working in occupational therapy, case management and expert witness.
Keystone is part of the Frenkel Topping Group, and adds case management expertise to its expansive portfolio of financial services, which range from accountancy to wealth management and investment, and strengthens its presence in the personal injury and clinical negligence market.
The London-based case management company, which supports clients across the South of England, is already looking to bring new people in to the business to help develop its presence and capability further still.
Niccola, a prominent name in case management and board member of CMSUK, launched Keystone after more than 16 years with her previous firm, and said she relishes the challenge of building a new expert business.
“This was a great opportunity for me to lead the development of a case management business, which also brings in expert reporting capability, and I was delighted to work alongside Frenkel Topping in creating Keystone Case Management,” she tells NR Times.
“It moved from idea to launch very quickly, and to have the backing of such an esteemed name in doing this has been fantastic. It has enabled us to create a business with a very creative approach, but which is focused at all time on being clinically-led.
“We pride ourselves on supporting people with life after life-changing injury. Sometimes after such an injury, there are many changes along the way, but we are committed to being to support with anything and everything along the way.
“Our absolute focus is on delivering clinical outcomes and the best and right services for the client, rather than this being about the commercials.
“I know the catastrophic injury space well and know, and this is a very exciting time for case management now that it is effectively ‘growing up’ through its new regulation, so Keystone feels like it has come at an ideal time in many ways.
“I’m really confident the group has the same focus on client care and values that myself and the team at Keystone have. I’m very hands-on in the ongoing development of the business. We’re building a very capable team here and are always looking for new people who want to join us on this exciting new journey.”
Pain management programme supports return to work
RTW Plus is piloting a programme in London, which could be rolled out across the country
A rehabilitation services company is piloting a pain management programme to support people in their employment, which could be replicated around the country.
RTW Plus has created the Living Well with Pain Programme which comprises three workshops to support people in their long-term employability by learning how to manage chronic pain.
The programme is currently recruiting participants in Lambeth, South London, having secured funding from Black Thrive Lambeth and the Guy’s and St Thomas Charity to run the project until April 2022.
And the programme – which offers group support over three modular workshops with pain management strategies, working with chronic pain and career redirection – is one which could be rolled out elsewhere in the country, in partnership with local bodies, to help more people at a time when many have again become office-based after home-working or unemployment during the pandemic.
“This is designed to help people in work, or who have fallen out of work, and are struggling with pain to better manage with their situation,” says Dr Devdeep Ahuja, clinical director of RTW Plus.
“For those in work, we are helping them to know how to talk to their employer about this, and what adjustments could be made.
“For people looking to get back into work, we can assist with getting them ready for that, and with when is the right time to disclose this to potential employers what support can they give.
“The feedback we have had so far has been phenomenal and we hope to recruit more people before April. Recruitment has been made harder through not being able to physically go into GP surgeries as we could before the pandemic, but word is spreading so we do hope to find many more people who could benefit from this.”
RTW Plus is a prominent name in pain management, having founded the International Chronic Pain Virtual Summit attended by over 8,000 delegates and created its own tech-led RESTORE programme for clients.
The business is hoping its expertise in the field, as well as the creation of a replicable formula in its Living Well with Pain, will mean other areas may also adopt the programme.
“If we can demonstrate the value of the programme in Lambeth, then we can take it to local authorities and charities across the UK. This gives us a template for how we could do it elsewhere,” says Dr Ahuja.
“With pain management, there is a lot of one-to-one work which can be very expensive, but with these group workshops you can have many people attending at one time and it is scaleable.
“We hope through greater access to the programme, more people will be able to have access to our pain management strategies, which can deliver long-term benefits to their lives.”
IRCM consult on proposed standards
Views are sought on the standards, which include minimum requirements around practice, ethics and professionalism for case managers
Consultation is open on the development of the proposed standards to be introduced by the newly-created Institute of Registered Case Managers (IRCM).
They have, say the IRCM, been carefully mapped against the quality standards of the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), and include minimum requirements around practice, ethics and professionalism.
The standards will help the IRCM – created jointly by the British Association of Brain Injury and Complex Case Management (BABICM), the Case Management Society of the UK (CMSUK) and the Vocational Rehabilitation Association (VRA) – in its efforts to advance the development of a register which will protect the public by promoting quality case management, and give new levels of endorsement of the abilities of case managers.
“For a register of case managers to be meaningful, it necessitates the development of a minimum standard and a means to measure the competence and behaviour of registrants,” said the IRCM.
“A significant proportion of current case managers and purchasers of services acknowledged that this is a critical point in the development of the register, and we are in the process of considering the entry requirements for registration which will be framed on these minimum standards.
“Already much time, effort and research of other similar registers has influenced the contents of this draft of the standards.”
The Case Management Framework was designed to define the general skills and knowledge base that all case managers should possess in order to deliver high quality case management services to their rehabilitation clients.
This framework was designed to sit alongside the individual member groups’ own requirements for membership, and to be the first step in developing a structured approach to quality service delivery and the pathway to reach this.
The development of new standards by the IRCM will help take that longstanding document to the next level.
“We also recognise the importance of consulting stakeholders at this point, as we did when developing the Framework,” said the IRCM.
“This consultation is designed around the questionnaire below and we welcome your comments particularly in this regard as they relate to the technical standards.”
Responses are welcomed by 5pm on Tuesday, December 14 and can be submitted here
The draft standards are available to view here
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