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Growth in case management marks ‘an exciting time for the profession’

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A host of case management companies are now recruiting

Case management is seeing a surge in recruitment, amidst increasing demand for specialists to manage complex cases alongside growing recognition of the importance of the profession.

Businesses nationally are expanding, several also widening their geographical reach, and are taking on new case managers to add to the size and capability of their teams.

In the past few weeks, case management companies across the UK have announced new recruits, or advertised vacancies, as they build their service offering to clients and their families further.

One of the country’s only specialist case management recruiters, Jessica Remnant, reports ongoing expansion even during the pandemic.

“Year on year I’ve seen the case management market increase. Recruitment within case management has remained fairly consistent throughout the pandemic, I even worked with new clients to double their team size throughout the first lockdown,” she says.

“I’m now seeing an increase which I believe this is partly due to adjusting to the new normal of the pandemic, and also dealing with a number of cases that were backlogged from the first lockdown in March.”

The development of the Institute of Registered Case Managers (IRCM) is also helping to increase the profile of case management, as well as setting a host of stringent technical and professional standards for case managers to adhere to.

In recent recruitment developments, Stokes Case Management has taken on ten new case managers, six of whom joined from Brain Injury Services (BIS), a company which Stokes managing director Rhiannon Stokes supported during 2020 as clinical lead.

Upon the closure of BIS, Stokes employed six case managers from their team, in addition to a further four recruited externally. Three new people were also added to its operations team, to bolster its Sussex-based back-office function.

“Our multi-award winning team has now expanded in both case management capacity and operational support but we’re still focused on doing this organically – to grow our team where it adds value to our clients and legal professionals,” says Rhiannon.

“That’s why we’re so pleased to welcome our new case managers who all bring with them a shared passion for a fresh and highly creative approach to case management, and a ‘can-do’ attitude to further our support for individuals with brain, spinal and complex injuries, across the UK.”

Furthermore, Social Return announced it has taken on three case managers to cover the North East and Yorkshire, as its expansion continues.

“We’re proud to be creating jobs and supporting the ever-growing numbers of clients and families,” said the business, which is led by managing director Vicki Gilman.

Among the numerous other case management companies currently recruiting are Amber Case Management, AMS Case Management, Birchwood & Co Case Management and Bush & Co.

The expansion of case management businesses comes as the professional continues to adapt to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, with telerehab and remote working now becoming an established way of working, backed by the creation of the IRCM.

The IRCM – which has been developed and supported jointly by BABICM, CMSUK and the VRA – is working towards accreditation by the Professional Standards Agency (PSA), which will create an industry standard for case management for the first time.

“People are now recognising the value of what a case manager does much more, and increasingly realise the need to appoint one,” says Angela Kerr, chair of BABICM and the newly-created IRCM.

“We are starting to get the recognition now of the role we play, which I suspect is why case management businesses are growing, in response to this demand.

“The creation of the IRCM is also an important step in the recognition of our profession. The need has been there for some time but we’re now taking that forward, and it will be very important in the future.”

Jessica, a senior recruiter at Medicor, says this marks an exciting time for the profession.

“It is a really exciting time within case management, the collaboration of BABICM, CMSUK and VRA in creating IRCM is going to boost the case management field and really establish itself within healthcare, leading to the development of lots of new opportunities in recruitment,” she continues.

“The role of a case manager is so rewarding and fascinating that I’ve also found that by introducing new candidates to the field, they have referred colleagues across and it’s really helped get the word out about case management, creating a buzz and further demand for candidates.

“I’m really looking forward to watching the case management market grow and establish itself over the next few years. Demand in this sector will only increase and the future is looking very positive.”

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Spinal cord patients see improvement in motor functions in new trial

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After being injected with stem cells, patients reported an improvement with their motor skills

Intravenous injection of bone marrow derived stem cells (MSCs) in patients with spinal cord injuries led to significant improvement in motor functions, new research has found.

For more than half of the patients, substantial improvements in key functions — such as ability to walk, or to use their hands — were observed within weeks of stem cell injection, the study from Yale University reports.

No substantial side effects were observed, they added.

The patients had sustained non-penetrating spinal cord injuries, in many cases from falls or minor trauma, several weeks prior to implantation of the stem cells.

Their symptoms involved loss of motor function and co-ordination, sensory loss, as well as bowel and bladder dysfunction.

The stem cells were prepared from the patients’ own bone marrow, via a culture protocol that took several weeks in a specialised cell processing centre.

The cells were injected intravenously in this series, with each patient serving as their own control. Results were not blinded and there were no placebo controls.

Yale scientists Jeffery D. Kocsis, professor of neurology and neuroscience, and Stephen G. Waxman, professor of neurology, neuroscience and pharmacology, were senior authors of the study, which was carried out with investigators at Sapporo Medical University in Japan.

Key investigators of the Sapporo team, Osamu Honmou and Masanori Sasaki, both hold adjunct professor positions in neurology at Yale.

Professor Kocsis and Professor Waxman stress that additional studies will be needed to confirm the results of this preliminary, unblinded trial.

They also stress that this could take years, but despite the challenges, remain optimistic.

“Similar results with stem cells in patients with stroke increases our confidence that this approach may be clinically useful,” notes Professor Kocsis.

“This clinical study is the culmination of extensive preclinical laboratory work using MSCs between Yale and Sapporo colleagues over many years.”

“The idea that we may be able to restore function after injury to the brain and spinal cord using the patient’s own stem cells has intrigued us for years,” adds Professor Waxman.

“Now we have a hint, in humans, that it may be possible.”

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Inpatient rehab

Family hail ‘amazing’ care at neurorehab centre

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Fraser Millar and his family

A family whose beloved husband and father had a stroke are fundraising for the neurological centre where he currently resident, after being impressed by the “amazing” standards of care.

Fraser Millar needed life-saving brain surgery in November last year and is now in Woodlands Neurological Care Centre in York, receiving intensive rehabilitation to aid his recovery.

Woodlands, a level two neurorehabilitation centre which is part of Active Care Group, specialises in maximising recovery and independence and sets patients rehabilitation goals that promote re-enablement and enhance quality of life.

Now, Fraser’s family – wife Debs and children Alex and Ryan – are fundraising on behalf of Woodlands, to purchase therapy equipment which will benefit people who are undergoing rehabilitation at the centre.

To remember the long walks Fraser and Debs used to enjoy so much, Debs and daughter Alex are walking the equivalent 230 mile distance from York to Perth in Scotland, where Fraser is from.

Having set a target of £500, the total now stands at over ten times that amount, with over £5,680 being raised at the time of writing.

Family, friends and work colleague donations have come from as far afield as Canada and Australia, from people inspired by the Millar family’s story, which has been widely shared on social media and is touchingly accompanied by the hashtag #comeondad.

“We feel the team at Woodlands have become extended members of our family, they’ve been amazing,” says Alex.

“One of dad’s hobbies is cooking, he’s an amazing chef and loves to watch cookery programmes on TV in the kitchen at home. Woodlands staff noted this on his arrival day and within 20 minutes dad was watching The Hairy Bikers in his room and he continues to watch various culinary programmes!

“Staff there make a huge effort to make dad comfortable, take great care of his needs and interact with us brilliantly, we’re so thankful and extremely happy he’s having the best care.

“We’re raising money to say a huge thank you and while we’re doing it for dad, it’s great that it will benefit other patients too.”

Debs and Alex initially set a target of completing their walk by March 7, which is Debs’ birthday, but typical of their determination, they had already finished by February 24. Their fundraising target has also been vastly exceeded, with donations continuing to come in by the day.

“We initially thought our family and close friends would help with our fundraising cause, but the charity page was quickly circulated and within hours are target was met and the figure kept rising, we couldn’t believe it! We are incredibly thankful for every donation,” says Alex.

“We feel so touched and overwhelmed to have had such amazing support for dad. We walked the long miles but the generous donations kept us going and without them we wouldn’t be in the position to present Woodlands with the equipment they deserve.”

To add support to the Millar family’s fundraising on behalf of Woodlands Neurological Care Centre, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/woodlands-neurological-rehabilitation-centre

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Could sesame seeds help protect against Parkinson’s?

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There is currently no cure of Parkinson's, but research like this could help change that

A chemical commonly found in discarded waste from the sesame seed oil manufacturing process could have protective effects against Parkinson’s disease, new groundbreaking research has found.

Sesaminol, abundant in the empty shells of sesame seeds which are discarded after the fatty oils are extracted, could have a role to play in protecting against neuron damage in the brain, researchers from Osaka City University have revealed.

“Currently there is no preventive medicine for Parkinson’s disease, we only have coping treatments,” says OCU Associate Professor Akiko Kojima-Yuasa.

Professor Kojima-Yuasa led her research group through a series of experiments to understand the effects of sesaminol on in vitro and in vivo Parkinson’s disease models.

Parkinson’s disease is caused when certain neurons in the brain involved with movement break down or die due in part to a situation called oxidative stress – neurons in the brain come under extreme pressure from an imbalance between antioxidants and reactive oxygen species (ROS).

The team found in cell-based in vitro experiments that sesaminol protected against neuronal damage by promoting the translocation of Nrf2, a protein involved in the response to oxidative stress, and by reducing the production of intracellular ROS.

In vivo experiments brought Professor Kojima-Yuasa’s team what the University have hailed as equally promising results.

The impairment of movement due to Parkinson’s disease is the result of damaged neurons producing less dopamine than is naturally needed.

The team showed that mice with Parkinson’s disease models show this lack of dopamine production. However, after feeding the mice a diet containing sesaminol for 36 days, the research team saw an increase in dopamine levels.

Alongside this, a rotarod performance test revealed a significant increase in motor performance and intestinal motor function.

With the first-ever medicine for Parkinson’s disease potentially being the naturally occurring food ingredient sesaminol, and this ingredient being found in the naturally occurring waste of the sesame seed industry, Professor Kojima-Yuasa and her team are ready to take their work to the clinical trial phase and connect the consumption/production chain in a way that, as she puts it, “prevents diseases with natural foods to greatly promote societal health.”

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