This Oct 8-14 was Case Management Week! Across our program, we employ over 100+ individuals in case manager or case manager type roles. Case management is a vital resource to the people we serve – through addressing non-medical yet essential life needs, we enable our patients to become more active in their journey towards better health and healing. We’re grateful to have a robust group of case managers spread across the program from our outpatient clinic to respite to shelter sites to street outreach. To mark this recent occasion, we spoke to Melissa Andrade, Director of Case Management at BHCHP.
1. What is case management?
Case management is a patient-centered, multi-disciplinary approach to problem-solving. A person may receive help through services such social services, housing support, and connecting with behavioral health services. It is also a way of organizing and providing care that focuses on individuals who have complex needs and multiple service/care providers. It involves working together across systems to identify what is important to the person, then developing a plan with them that clearly states what they want and need.
2. Why is case management an essential part of the all-round services we provide to our patients?
Case Management recognizes that no two people are alike. Some individuals may need more assistance than others while some may need less. Some individuals may be able to access services on their own while others will need help with this process. BHCHP is also an organization that does provides case management in “traditional” way…we offer financial support with vital documents, housing move in cost, private transportation when appropriate, and necessities such as clothing and shoes.
3. What kind of case management services do we provide at BHCHP?
To cater to our diverse patient groups, we offer outpatient case management which is more extensive and long term and inpatient case management which is short term. Our case managers are skilled in dealing with housing issues, social security benefits, and recovery services. For immigration and family reunification matters, we often refer to outside resources.
Throughout BHCHP, we have 100+ staff whose work revolves around providing case management services. Our case management teams are resilient and work tirelessly to break barriers for our patients.
4. How does case management impact patients’ health?
There are great benefits that can come about because of the case management services and support being offered. For instance, if someone has spent months living on the street, they may end up in hospital because of an illness related to their living conditions. Linking people with mental health and/or substance use disorder issues to community-based services would reduce the chances of hospital admission. Case managers are building great rapport with patients and I believe we do that well at BHCHP. We find patients who are disconnected from care and actively work to engage them in their journey towards health and healing. Our work has a direct impact on the lives of our patients.
5. If you could describe a typical day of a case manager, what would that be like?
To be a case manager at BHCHP, you need to be flexible with their approach to work. You can plan your day but it doesn’t always work out the way you imagined. You need to be patient with people who don’t show up for appointments and be ready to help those who you didn’t anticipate showing up and need your assistance.
6. What are some of the main challenges faced by our case managers?
Case management is an ever-changing field. A resource we used today to help our patients may be gone by tomorrow. This means that you need to be able to find workarounds and adapt to whatever situation arises so as not to compromise the quality of our services.
7. How did you get involved in this field of work? What do you think of it?
I actually got started in finance at another healthcare facility and through that I found my passion to help others in a different capacity and through advocacy work. I love Case Management. No single day is ever the same and I’m honored to be in a position to able to do this work and help others and genuinely have a love for it.
8. In the coming year, do you have specific goals for the case management team to accomplish?
In aligning with our organization’s mission, we want to promote equity as a guiding principle in all that we do. At the same time, we aspire to provide high quality care that improves the lives of people who have experienced homelessness.