What do you think?
- Why is it important that clients can reach their case manager?
- How might this information be used to inform Continuing Care Health Service Standards 2.0 Case Management, and/or related sub-standards?
- Are there differences between zones? Between mainly rural and urban zones? What factors could account for these differences?
Whether you’re a client, family member, provider, or health system administrator, thinking about why these differences might exist can start or inform conversations and lead to solutions for improved quality of healthcare.
Understanding “reaching their case manager”
In a survey conducted from October 2018 to March 2019, the HQCA asked clients receiving home care:
In the last year, I was able to reach my case manager when I needed her/him.
Clients could choose “Yes / Partly / No”
A case manager plays an important role in care planning and case management with clients receiving home care. Care planning is when a case manager creates an individual care plan with a client that considers their needs as identified using information that is gathered using a standardized assessment tool. Case management refers to the management and co-ordination of the care that is outlined in a client’s care plan, which is delivered by the case manager and other home care staff.
A case manager is a regulated health professional (e.g., registered nurse (RN), occupational therapist (OT), or physical therapist (PT)) who is assigned to each home care client to complete the standardized assessment with the client and develop the client’s care plan. Once the care plan is agreed, the case manager helps the client navigate their healthcare experience according to the care plan; monitoring the client’s situation and reassessing needs as appropriate. Clients are encouraged to contact their case manager, by phone or e-mail, with any questions or concerns about their care. Alberta Health Services (AHS) provides all home care case management services in Alberta.
Clients stated in their open-ended responses to HQCA survey questions that case managers that are available and follow up regularly, not just when there are immediate issues to address, are crucial. Clients feel that case managers who offer support in this way identify their needs and ensure they receive the services they need consistently, to stay at home and in the community.
Considerations when viewing the results:
This data reflects the experiences of seniors aged 65+ receiving long term supportive and maintenance care and are among the largest groups of home care clients.
There are a number of factors providers and leaders can consider to better understand and improve the experiences of clients who need to reach their case manager. Some questions they could ask before taking action include:
- What can these results tell us about case manager availability? What impact might case manager availability have on:
- – The accessibility of services?
- – The delivery of quality, person-centred, and safe care?
- – A client’s ability to live independently in the community?
- How is effective communication between the case manager and client supported?
- How can case load, multiple communication channels (e.g., e-mail, phone, and in-person), and preferred communication styles (for both client and case manager) impact these results?
- What alternative contacts do clients have available to address their immediate needs?
- Sometimes, clients do not know or cannot remember who their case manager is. What are some ways to help clients, their loved ones, or legal guardian remember who their case manager is?
For information about the HQCA’s Alberta Seniors Home Care Client Survey, please visit the HQCA website.
The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess home care’s performance in these dimensions of quality:
Dimensions of Quality