Clients and providers ask us all the time if we do care management. While the answer is no, it’s a qualified no, because there is some overlap between our services. What’s important is to understand where the differences lie: we want to make sure our clients get the right kind of help all along the way.
When someone gets sick their needs fall along a continuum of care. In the beginning, the focus is on proper diagnosis and treatment, which can involve medical appointments, research, decision-making, second opinions, etc. Patients and loved ones often experience a great deal of stress as they adapt to their new circumstances. In this phase of illness, patients are usually learning to work within the medical system, and they are establishing themselves with new medical providers and new routines.
As people move along the continuum however, there is often a different kind of need, which requires proper homecare and some longer-term adjustments that come along with a diagnosis. Once the crisis phase has passed, people are less stressed, and they are adapting to the changes in their lives.
Here at Pathfinders, we focus specifically on the initial phase, where we serve primarily as medical advocates. We help our clients get the medical care they want, and deserve. We assist them in using the medical system successfully, making good treatment decisions, and finding the right resources and services that best fit their individual needs. Our fundamental goal is to help a patient figure out what their medical journey is going to look like and then to ensure that they get the most from the path they choose. We teach them how to communicate successfully, use virtual tools, and appropriately frame their situation in order to move forward.
Care managers typically assist somewhere farther along the continuum, or even after Pathfinders has completed the initial phases of service. They assist, or sometimes take over the management of the ongoing care that has already been established. The may arrange extended homecare services, supervise caregivers, identify appropriate care facilities, manage legal issues such as disability payments, handle ongoing medical bills, etc.
Bottom line: our brand of patient advocacy is about choosing the journey, while care management is more about completing it. Our advocates help clients to learn about all the possibilities that are out there and how to choose the one that is right for them. Yes, we often stay by our clients’ side throughout the later stages, as there can be new trails to follow and new roads to explore, and we’re committed to being there to help as long as our clients need it. But sometimes, we recommend hiring a great care manager, who can supplement the services our clients need along the way.
Are you looking for a great care manager? Let us help you find one that is right for you.