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Case management

‘It’s a privilege to be able to help others’

A case manager inspired into the profession after her father’s brain injury has set up her own business. 

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Amy Crosby has created Evolve Case Management to deliver specialist support to people with brain and spinal injuries, building on her career in nursing and case management, as well as her personal experience of life-changing injury. 

After her father sustained a TBI in 2015 after falling down some stairs, resulting in a frontal lobe craniotomy and a five-month stay in hospital, Amy saw first-hand how vital and badly-needed support is post-discharge, for individuals and their families alike. 

“I realised then how little I knew about brain injury. As a nurse, you’re used to being able to fix things, but brain injury is very different. My dad couldn’t fit into the world he used to live in, which he thought he could go back to, and there was no support or education for us as a family,” she recalls. 

“Now, having been through that myself, I can identify with other families and help them with some of the barriers they will face – I can forewarn them of some of the challenges that will lie ahead, educate them and empower them. Fear is such a powerful emotion, but once you understand things better, you aren’t as scared. It’s about adjustment and acceptance. 

“I’ve been through the wringer too, so understand what they’re going through, but by working in case management and essentially being a ‘project manager’, I can help to get the right support they need.”

Having established Evolve earlier this year, following a stint back on the NHS frontline to support COVID-19 efforts, Amy is now able to deliver that support across the North East and North Yorkshire. 

After her father was discharged home from hospital and realising the scarcity of NHS community provision, she saw the need to “upskill” and find out what more she could do to make his life better. 

Amy appointed a private occupational therapist and saw the difference that could make, and also discovered the support from her local branch of Headway, in Darlington. 

“I’d heard the term ‘case manager’ banded about and one of the volunteers at the Headway group was a case manager, and I thought that sounded like a bit of me, I’m very methodical and like solving problems,” says Amy, who is now chair of Headway Darlington & District. 

“Being brought up in a very working-class family in one of the most deprived areas in England, running my own case management company was never something I aspired to doing. However, I have had the pleasure of meeting many clinicians and therapists within my role as case manager who have done just that and seen the autonomy and creativity working for their own companies offered them. The pandemic gave me the kick up the butt to do it, and I thought ‘What are you waiting for?’

“With Evolve, our ethos is all about client-centred care and making a really strong stand for people, we offer support that is unique to their needs and wishes. Having that personal experience, I realise what a joy it would have been to have a case manager in our situation and it’s a privilege to be able to help others. As a new business, we’re constantly evolving and learning in ways of doing that.”

As as well as through her work in case management, Amy is also committed to making a difference to people’s lives through her role with Headway Darlington & District. 

“When I first started going there were probably 40 people there who were all so different in their presentation, they all had a brain injury but had such different needs and support requirements,” says Amy. 

“We are pushing for change and to create a much more established better pathway for these people and their families after their discharge from the acute setting. We want to change the status quo instead of putting a plaster over it. The pandemic will delay a lot of progress for a lot of people and will have set them back, so it’s more important than ever to make change.

“Sometimes I look back on the journey I have been on over the last six years and the times I thought ‘How do I move on from this’ but now it feels like it all had a purpose, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. 

“I’ve seen through my personal and professional experience how early support and intervention following injury can transform individuals predicted outcomes, enabling them to have a much-improved quality of life. It’s also often much more cost-effective long term and is something that I am passionate and committed to promoting for all brain injury survivors and families.”

Brain injury

Supporting professionals to understand suicidal risk

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Understanding suicidal risk and supporting professionals to deal with such a hugely difficult topic is to be tackled in an event being held next week. 

Life-changing brain, spinal cord and complex injuries can be significant factors in increasing this risk, as a result of the huge spectrum of difficult emotions a person faces in dealing with their new reality. 

And for the professionals dealing with clients going through such trauma, suicidal thoughts and acts can cause great distress to them and it can be difficult to know how to react and what action to take. 

Through the ‘Understanding Suicidal Risk – A Guide for Professionals’ event, held by Sphere Memory and Rehabilitation Team, advice and guidance will be offered to empower those working in complex injury to deal with such situations. 

The webinar, held on Thursday, July 1 from 10.30am to 11.30am, will be delivered by consultant psychologist Dr Clare West, and is raising money for SameYou – the charity founded by Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke after surviving two brain haemorrhages, to give a voice to fellow brain injury survivors and to deliver better holistic rehabilitation care. 

Dr Katherine Dawson, director and consultant clinical neuropsychologist at Sphere, says that while the issue of suicidal risk has gained more prominence during the pandemic, for professionals working with brain and spinal cord injury patients and those individuals who have experienced trauma, the issue is ever-present. 

“It is a timeless issue, which can cause anxiety for those around the individuals regarding management and intervention. Furthermore, often individuals really struggle to even voice how they feel and the enormity of suicidality can often silence individuals which then worsens hopelessness,” says Dr Dawson. 

“If someone does share their suicidal thoughts and feelings, in response people often don’t know how to move forward with that.

“During the pandemic, the loneliness and isolation has increased, and very early into lockdown quite a lot of my clients went into crisis as their support network, which provides a lot containment, wasn’t there anymore – while Zoom serves a purpose, it’s not the same as in real life. 

“People hear ‘suicide’ and can panic. There is understandable fear associated with it, and often those around the individual may inadvertently respond in quite a reactive way, wanting to try and fix the issue. We recognise that this can cause significant distress and anxiety and it can be hard to know what to do in the face of suicidal risk.

“Hopelessness is the most immediate risk factor for suicide so instilling hope is essential. The assessments we will consider in the webinar outline how to assess the different levels of risk including looking out for red flags, primary drivers and secondary drivers. 

“We focus on how to complete a suicide interview collaboratively, leading to a clear plan of risk escalation and services to involve at specific times. 

“Through putting the spotlight on a suicide intervention management plan, we can look at this in a thoughtful and containing way, reducing the risk of reactivity and decreasing anxiety. 

“We’ve heard directly from a lot of case managers that risk and managing risk is something they are concerned about, so we hope this event will help them with what is a very difficult topic.”  

Sphere are asking for a suggested £20 donation to SameYou to attend the event. To register, visit here

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Case management

New chair of BABICM appointed

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A new chair has been appointed by the British Association of Brain Injury and Complex Case Management (BABICM).

Vicki Gilman has taken over at the helm of BABICM, which is the representative body for continued professional advancement of case management and promotes best practice in supporting people with brain injury and complex conditions.

She takes over from Angela Kerr, who steps down after five years in the role at the helm, in what is BABICM’s 25th anniversary year.

“I’m delighted to be BABICM’s new chair in our 25th anniversary year.  The organisation has a well-established, powerful and influential voice and we will continue to ensure that the needs of people with brain injury and complex medical conditions are recognised and met,” says Vicki.  

An experienced case manager, health entrepreneur and clinical specialist neurophysiotherapist, Vicki is currently managing director of Social Return Case Management, a company she established over six years ago.

She qualified in physiotherapy at King’s College, London and completed a Master of Science degree in neurorehabilitation at Brunel University.  

For several years, Vicki worked in a specialised military neurorehabilitation unit, treating adults with brain injury, spinal cord injury, and other complex conditions.

Vicki coordinated and worked clinically in NHS and independent sector multidisciplinary community teams treating people with neurological conditions, and she was an expert witness in brain and spinal cord injury for over 20 years. 

Her work in a multidisciplinary team steered her into case management, and for six years Vicki was on the BABICM Council and chaired its training events group, returning last year to BABICM Council for a preparatory year before stepping into the role as chair.

“These are challenging and changing times for everyone in healthcare and beyond,” continues Vicki.  

“As case managers we need to be flexible but quick to respond to new developments and ways of working, ensuring the best possible outcomes for our clients. 

“As an organisation, BABICM has to be responsive to the needs of our members; we must ensure that they receive the training and support required to maintain our high professional standards and to deliver best-practice services.”    

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Case management

Awards to recognise role of case management during pandemic

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An awards event is being held to recognise and reward the role of case management during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CMSUK is holding its first-ever virtual awards event, which will bring together industry professionals from across the country to reflect on the impact of the pandemic on case management practice. 

The ‘Acknowledgement of Achievement Awards; How the Pandemic Has Changed Case Management Practice’ event has four categories which will allow case managers and businesses the opportunity to review their work and achievements. 

The event, on Friday, September 24, will build further on CMSUK’s commitment to case managers during the past year, during which it delivered a comprehensive offering in online education through an array of lunchtime webinars and study days, culminating in the industry’s first online conference. 

Education and development is currently more vital than ever in case management, with the upcoming launch of the Institute of Registered Case Managers (IRCM) requiring case managers to evaluate heir learning and experiences to shape their professional development and practice.

“We didn’t have an awards event last year, and while we wanted to do something this year, the board felt we needed to do something a bit different,” Niccola Irwin, director of CMSUK, tells NR Times. 

“This will be an opportunity to reflect on how COVID-19 has changed case management. In the submissions, we are asking for reflection on how the pandemic has changed their practice, which will also allow for sharing and showcasing good practice. 

“Case managers have always been very creative and tenacious, and those strengths were never more needed than when the pandemic came and the circumstances were very different. But I think through reflecting on that time, looking at what we did and what we could do differently, will result in an even stronger offering to clients, customers and staff. 

“The awards this year have been pared back a little bit, we have four categories, but we are so pleased to be able to reflect on the past year in this way, in what we hope will be a very nice event as well as a chance to celebrate.”

Categories open for nomination are: 

  • Clinical Case Manager of the Year – Catastrophic
  • Clinical Case Manager of the Year – Moderate/Severe
  • Case Manager Supporter of the Year
  • Case Management Company of the Year

Shortlisted nominees will be invited to present their short reflection at the online networking and award event.

Visit CMSUK here to find out how to nominate, sponsor the awards and book a place at the event. Nominations close on Friday, June 25.

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