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New case management business launches

Keystone Case Management, led by Niccola Irwin, brings further support for clients with life-changing injuries

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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.”

Case management

Pain management programme supports return to work

RTW Plus is piloting a programme in London, which could be rolled out across the country

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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.” 

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Case management

IRCM consult on proposed standards

Views are sought on the standards, which include minimum requirements around practice, ethics and professionalism for case managers

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Consultation is open on the development of the proposed standards to be introduced by the newly-created Institute of Registered Case Managers (IRCM). 

The standards come as the latest phase in the development of the IRCM, an organisation set up to help professionalise case management through new levels of regulation and accountability.

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 new proposed standards build further on the first version of the Case Management Framework, published in 2014 by BABICM, CMSUK and the VRA.

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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Case management

Neurotechnology – life-transforming or an expensive white elephant?

Rachel Charles discusses the power and potential of technology in neurorehabilitation

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We are at an exciting time in neurorehabilitation, where we are discovering more and more about our brain and nervous system and how we can adapt to life-changing injuries by harnessing the potential of technology to push the boundaries of what is currently possible.

Our previously unseen electrical and brain activity can be enhanced to enable us to visualise our emotions, communicate when we can’t speak, lift limbs that we have difficulty moving. We can be transported to far off, fantastical lands from the comfort our armchairs by putting on a VR headset, and exercise on a treadmill without being able to walk.

This is not just the stuff of Hollywood movies and fantasy novels, but real life that can be seen, touched and used in rehabilitation centres across the world right now.

So, how do we ensure that this technology is accessible, appropriate and enables the people using it to achieve their goals and aspirations?  How we do prevent exoskeletons from gathering dust in cupboards or the corners of therapy rooms? How do we justify and prove that these technologies make a difference and are worth the investment?

Firstly, we need to keep in mind who the technology is for. We are adaptable, complex systems that require varied, intensive, targeted opportunities to refine and improve our abilities. We know about “practice makes perfect” – practice needs to be the right amount, in the right place, at the right time – for a purpose and have meaning, not necessarily helping us achieve perfection. One size definitely does not fit all.

Secondly, we need to coproduce, collaborate, and cooperate to share knowledge and skills – it is essential the end user is part of the team. It is totally possible to repurpose and adapt current technologies that are already in use such as robots and VR games for the rehabilitation market.  What works in one setting does not necessarily work in others. It is a great opportunity to design and manufacture technology that is fit for purpose, which can be updated and upgraded and recycled.

Thirdly, we will still need therapists and case managers.  (You probably think that this is because I am one…”so you would say this wouldn’t you”). Technology is not a magic bullet and will not replace therapists or therapy or the need for case management. It will enable more people to participate in high dose, high quality rehabilitation that is commissioned by case managers and structured by therapists as part of their individual rehabilitation programme.

Therapists need to be open-minded and given access to systems and training that enable them to use their clinical reasoning to consider technology as a viable option as part of their treatment plan. Case managers need to keep up to date with innovations and technologies by networking and sharing information so that our clients have the possibility of being able to access neurotechnology now and in the future when this is appropriate.

Lastly, technology has the potential to transform the rehabilitation experience of people affected by life changing injuries and our understanding of the brain and nervous system. By trialling available technologies with people who may benefit from them and being able to demonstrate tangible changes in function – enabling people to thrive, not just survive – we have the potential to create a very different future for all of us.

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