News and Articles

The Case Manager’s Role in Identifying Substance Use Disorders

Care Managers Play an Important Role in Helping Patients, Families Tackle Addiction

Man staring at alcoholSubstance use disorders affect people from all lifestyles. Some people become addicts after they begin using drugs recreationally; others begin misusing prescription medication and develop a dependence on it that can consume their lives.

Hospital case managers are in a unique position to evaluate patients and families when they are at their most vulnerable. If a patient is experiencing full-blown addiction, it can be extremely difficult to stop without effective professional treatment.

In mid-2017, drug overdoses became the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50. In 2016, over 4,000 people died from unintentional drug overdoses in Ohio, a 36% increase from the year before when the state had led the nation in overdose deaths.

Heroin or prescription painkillers, sometimes laced with a synthetic opioid, Fentanyl, are commonly abused drugs, as is alcohol. Case managers may also encounter patients who abuse steroids, stimulants, ecstasy, crystal meth, bath salts or cocaine.

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Identifying Mental Health Issues Reduces Care Plan Failure Rate

Care Managers Must Know the Signs of Mental Illness to Best Serve Clients

Mental IllnessMost people believe mental illness is rare, but the numbers tell a different story. For case managers, it is especially important to know whether a client with chronic disease or complex needs may be struggling with mental illness.

Mental illness is a disease causing disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in patients who are unable to cope with some of the ordinary demands and routines in life. There are more than 200 classified forms of mental health conditions; some may be caused by a biochemical imbalance, while others can be triggered by stress associated with chronic disease.

Mental Health by the Numbers

The incidence of adults and children in America who suffer from mental health challenges is staggering. Case managers who work exclusively with this population can typically offer a wide range of support, including coordinating community services and effective treatment, and assisting clients and families in achieving independence.

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Care Managers Help Families Navigate Challenges of Dementia

Support for Patient, Families is Key in Each Stage of Disease 

Patient with dementia - case manager careDementia is a general term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Family members, healthcare providers, and care managers face special challenges in supporting and caring for people with dementia.

In the early stages of dementia, patients and families may notice the patient has increased difficulty in coping with transitions, subtle changes in short-term memory, difficulty finding the right words, and instances of repetition, such as asking the same questions or completing the same tasks repeatedly. Families will sometimes report their loved one is confused about their sense of direction, struggles to follow storylines, or exhibits sudden changes in mood, such as depression, frustration, and anger.

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