Care Management at Eastern
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The Care Management Department at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center (Eastern) provides an important level of support during your healing journey. As your medical advocate, your care manager will guide you through the entire care process—from initial consultation, throughout your treatment, during recovery, and after your treatment is finished.
The care management team
Fran Reichel serves as the Director of Oncology Patient Services and Care Management at Eastern. Evelyn Dobson, Manager of Care Management, leads the care management team.
Eastern’s care management team currently consists of care managers, all of whom are registered nurses (RNs) with oncology expertise. The team also includes care management assistants, who are licensed practical nurses (LPNs). In addition, a care management coordinator helps answer calls and relays information to the nurses.
The role of the care manager: Your medical advocate
When you arrive at Eastern, you will have a care manager assigned specifically to you. Your care manager will serve as your advisor, advocate and mentor before, during and after your treatment.
Your first meeting with your care manager will take place at the end of your initial evaluation period. From that point on, if you have medical questions or concerns, your care manager is the person you can contact first.
As a member of your overall care team, your care manager will communicate with your doctors and other clinicians, caregivers, and health insurance company on your behalf to make sure your treatment plan runs smoothly.
For instance, if you are experiencing a symptom like nausea, your care manager will consult with members of your care team to arrange for anti-nausea medications and other therapies.
“The care manager is here to do a lot of symptom management. We try to assist patients with diet, staying hydrated, and managing issues such as pain, constipation, lack of appetite, and nausea, so they can continue with treatment,” says Reichel.
As always, your multidisciplinary care team at Eastern will be accessible to you throughout your treatment. The addition of a care manager, particularly when you are away from the hospital, further ensures you get the attention you deserve.
Care managers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are in the hospital from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are also on call 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.
“Care managers are easily accessible to patients. They all carry the wireless phones with them so they can be reached anywhere in the hospital,” says Reichel.
According to Reichel, the average turnaround time for a care manager to respond to a patient is about 15 minutes or less. Reichel says the department plans to reduce this response time to five minutes or less.
Furthermore, if you have questions or concerns when you are away from the hospital, you can call or email your care manager at any time. Your care manager will also help organize your follow-up visits for you.
Care management services
The following are some of the specific services your care manager provides:
- Reviews your medical history
- Works with your insurance company on your behalf
- Consults daily with your care team to review and discuss your treatment plan
- Helps you understand your treatment plan so you can make informed decisions about your care
- Assists with making referrals to specific departments
- Helps you keep track of your lab tests and identify questions/concerns for your oncologist
- Provides information about your cancer type and managing side effects of cancer treatment
- Helps coordinate medications through consultation with your doctors
- Provides social work assistance
- Conducts utilization review
- Coordinates discharge planning when you leave the hospital (e.g., equipment to transition to outpatient/home care services)
- Conducts regular follow-up interviews with you (e.g., to help you manage your symptoms)
- Serves as a link when you are at home, including the Survivorship Support Program
Social work assistance
Social work assistance is also available at Eastern. A social worker will collaborate with your care manager to handle various issues, such as crisis management, applying for disability, help with paying for medication, and linking you to appropriate community resources.
Unlike many other cancer treatment facilities, Eastern provides care management to every patient—regardless of whether you are in or out of the hospital. Care managers see outpatients, inpatients, and those seeking Survivorship Support.
Thus, your care manager is with you throughout your entire journey, rather than on an episodic basis. This continuous support enables your care manager to establish a long-term relationship with you and your caregivers.
“Here, care management uses a continuum of care model. From the time before the patient even arrives, care management is involved straight through into Survivorship,” says Reichel.
At Eastern, your care manager coordinates the many different aspects of your care so you don’t have to worry about these details. They will also provide you with information and support so you can feel confident in your treatment plan.
“We do a lot of teaching and education. We want to make sure patients have all the information they need so they can make decisions that are best for them. And, we support patients in whatever decisions they make. Here, patients have a voice in their care,” says Reichel.