Case Management Society of America


The Spectrum of Case Management


In the late 1980s, I worked first as a nurse and then as a rehabilitation nurse liaison at a free-standing acute physical rehabilitation hospital. The facility was amazing for the depth and scope of the programs it provided, from pediatric to brain and spinal cord rehabilitation. Acute physical rehabilitation hospitals are different from acute medical hospitals because the interdisciplinary team approach is used for all aspects of healing and recovery. The patient and family are always integral to the planning process. It was my work in acute rehabilitation that led me to the case management profession and CMSA.

The writers for this issue of CMSA Today are describing two types of case management practice, seemingly at opposite ends of the acute care case management spectrum: emergency department case management and rehabilitation case management.

A patient may arrive in the emergency department with a devastating stroke and the family is grateful for the life-saving action of the emergency department team. In the acute rehabilitation setting, the patient and family realize the reality of the long road to recovery and community reintegration. The case manager is with the patient and family in both settings to inform them about options for rehabilitation, advocate for the patient’s choices and provide ongoing support and direction.

The emergency department case manager and the acute rehabilitation case manager have much in common. Both case managers assess, plan and implement an integrated case management plan of care. Both case management settings have components of population and disease health management, and both are goal-driven to return the patient back to the community, with the necessary tools and resources to better equip him or her to be self-sufficient.

Case managers have provided the glue and substance behind care management plans for these two setting for the past quarter century. It is in this issue that we are recognizing these specialized case managers for the meaningful contributions they make in the lives of those most vulnerable due to disease, cognitive deficits and socio-economic challenges.

Mary McLaughlin-Davis, DNP, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC, CCM

President, CMSA 2016-2018

Dr. McLaughlin-Davis is the president of CMSA. She has been a certified case manager since 1993; she is a clinical nurse specialist for adult health and the senior director for care management for Cleveland Clinic, Avon Hospital.