News and Articles

Case Management and Palliative Care: It’s All About the Person

Jennifer BallentineBy Jennifer Moore Ballentine

It’s National Case Management Week and, fittingly, we want to celebrate you—the case managers, care managers and care coordinators whose work is so critical to the health and well-being of our most vulnerable populations. We’re so grateful to you and the organizations that employ you.

Care managers are among the greatest champions of an emerging healthcare movement built around the patient—or, more accurately, the person. What does this person and family value most, what inspires them, and what challenges and barriers must be addressed so they can optimize their health and quality of life?

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Case Managers and Their Powerful Role in Health Literacy

The Importance of Health Literacy When Facing Chronic Illness

Jenner HeadshotBy Theresa E. Jenner, MSW, LICSW, CCM

Research and anecdotal experience frequently remind caregivers that low health literacy among patients can significantly impact outcomes and increase healthcare costs, especially in the context of a chronic illness. Yet to understand the impact of low health literacy, one must first understand the meaning of the term.

Federal statute defines “health literacy” as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions.” In simpler terms, does a patient understand her illness, its treatment and its progression? Can a patient communicate with her care team when she has questions or concerns?

The National Health Council estimates that 133 million Americans are living with a chronic disease. These people have various levels of functioning in the community. They may be living alone, dependent on caregivers or residing in a long-term care facility.

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Motivational Interviewing an Essential Skill for Care Managers

Good Training Needed for Case Managers

Case Manager Phone Conversation

People with complex medical needs face myriad challenges when it comes to following the “do’s and don’ts” designed to help manage their chronic conditions and avoid painful exacerbations and costly hospitalizations. A growing body of evidence suggests there may be a better way.

Multiple studies show motivational interviewing (MI) is an effective tool for eliciting behavioral change across a wide spectrum of healthcare challenges—and that good training is needed to equip care managers and other professionals with the MI skills that can help patients resolve ambivalence and achieve their goals.

Empathy and compassion are cornerstones of MI, which utilizes a series of steps to guide patients through stages of readiness. In MI, patients do most of the talking, while providers engage in reflective listening and other techniques that helps patients identify what behaviors they want to change, and how they want to do it.

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