Having worked as a neurosciences occupational therapist in the NHS for more than 15 years, it felt somewhat surreal leaving behind my team and service, which had become deeply embedded in my daily routine.
The opportunity to undertake an exciting new challenge in my career, despite the anxieties of the unknown and a loyalty to a service of which I was extremely fond and proud, paved the way for a move that in the end proved difficult to decline.
Before I could hesitate, I was driving to Cornwall to complete an immediate needs assessment and I was delighted to complete my report within the 21-day deadline. Phew! I reflect on my first year in case management noting the increased consumption of coffee but more significantly with immense pride of my achievements.
Yes, there have been many moments where my to-do list has spiraled, and my plans changed with the sound of a new email in my inbox.
I have spent much time looking up the legal terms and asking what it all means, and wondering if the solicitor likes me or does my email read well?
There have been breakthrough moments when I have facilitated a client’s goal plan and seen them engage in an activity that they believed they would never be able to undertake and captured a client’s thoughts and feelings and translated this successfully into the written form. I have enjoyed report writing more than I could have imagined, and though challenging, I have relished the steep learning curve which this last year has presented.
I have had to view the client from a case manager perspective, but I continue to use my clinical knowledge and occupational therapy assessment skills and treatment planning to deliver the high-quality work with my clients that I strive to provide.
Being an OT is part of me and I will always use my wealth of experience to case manage my clients.
The highlights of my first year include developing good rapport and therapeutic relationships with both clients and their families. Effective communication skills have rewarded me with the opportunity to engage well with the wider multidisciplinary team.
An invitation to a gala dinner with a solicitor firm was somewhat unexpected but satisfying to think that my individual work with a client had earned my attendance. I have been fortunate to join a case management company where my own learning needs and supervisory requirements have been protected, and I have been well supported by my peers. Regular clinical and peer supervision are prioritised, and I am appreciative of their team working ethos.
I hope to continue to build on my confidence as a neuro case manager and I am committed to develop my learning within this field. I am feeling excited at the prospect of implementing my clients’ goals over the forthcoming months and reassured to know that the support from my company will facilitate this. It has been enthusing to take a leap into a new career direction and it will be encouraging to see what the second year brings.
Michelle Mason is an occupational therapist and case manager at Circle Case Management.
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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