The American Case Management Association (ACMA) strives every day to increase awareness of the essential work and professional development of case managers and transitions of care professionals across the healthcare continuum. This year, the ACMA celebrates the amazing work of these professionals by recognizing National Case Management Week, October 11th – October 17th! The theme for this year’s celebration is Transitions through Care, Expertise, and Integrity.
The ACMA defines Case Management as a collaborative practice including patients, caregivers, nurses, social workers, physicians, payers, support staff, other practitioners and the community. The Case Management process facilitates communication and care coordination along a continuum through effective transitional care management. Recognizing the patient’s right to self-determination, the significance of the social determinants of health and the complexities of care, the goals of Case Management include the achievement of optimal health, access to services, and appropriate utilization of resources.
As a social work case manager, I have the incredible privilege of working with patients and families in both acute and ambulatory care settings. When people ask me what my job is like, I describe it as being a bit of a problem-solver. My work consists of assessing and evaluating patients’ social and health care needs during a hospitalization or clinic visit and developing a plan to help patient’s health or social needs be met by utilizing community services and support in effective and resourceful ways. The interplay of advocating for a patient’s wishes, complicated by social issues such as poverty, housing instability, or food insecurity, and managing what healthcare services are available or needed for the patient are all part of the challenge of problem solving I love in case management work.
One of my favorite parts of my work is listening deeply to understand my patient’s situation, their concerns, and goals for their current medical issues. Through collaboration, advocacy, and supportive counseling, I relish the opportunities to work in partnership with my patients and their medical team to address their needs during health care interactions.
This year in particular, case managers and transitions of care professionals across the nation have demonstrated their unique skills and ability to adapt to rapid changes with the COVID-19 pandemic in order to successfully manage safe transitions from a hospitalization to rehabilitation or home with home care services. Case management is invaluable to the patients and families they serve. This week, say a HUGE “Thank you” to the case managers and transitions of care professionals you know!
Lauren Timkovich, LCSW, ACM-SW
Denver Health | Ambulatory Care Services Care Management
UCHealth | Highlands Ranch Hospital | Care Management