story and photo by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer (oknursingtimes.com/featured/plan-of-action/)
When it comes to the disease process often times families are left to sift through a sea of information just trying to make the best decision for a loved one.
Helping families navigate that process is why Karissa Maddox, RN, BSN, CMC became a nurse. And it’s the reason she’s spent the last 15 years of her nursing career working with OU Nursing Care Management.
“Just the love you have for the members and the relationship you develop seeing them being able to remain at home living a more healthy life – you know you’re helping them,” Maddox said. “That’s what keeps me in it. You see the difference you make.”
OU Nursing Care Management has been coordinating care for Oklahomans statewide since 1995.
Maddox fell in love with the program just three years into her nursing career and says the shared mission is unlike any other she’s ever experienced.
“Everybody working for us has a very caring, nurturing side and that’s important when you’re dealing with the care of people in transition,” Maddox said. “We don’t just see them once and go away.”
Through the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, the OU Nursing Care Management Program provides case management services through the entire spectrum of care.
Maddox says a large portion of services are to ADvantage-eligible and approved elderly and disabled individuals (as determined by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services) but the program has several other facets.
“I feel we have had success with this program because we have quality people who work for us,” Maddox said. “We have a wide variety of people with different backgrounds.”
Registered nurses, social workers and other licensed professionals coordinate for the welfare and well-being for the clients taken care of.
Services aren’t just for the older adult. The OU College of Nursing program offers pediatric, chronic care and disease management services as well, helping families navigate multiple, complex processes while serving as a support advocate for the family to get them the services they need.
Often times multiple doctors treat patients and Maddox said a case manager serves as a central hub for information while helping to coordinate care.
“It just relieves the stress and helps the family try to live a normal life, especially if loved ones live at a distance,” she said. “We are often the “professional advocate” helping manage care while communicating with family members and providers in addition to coordinating all health care needs. The program is far-reaching.”
Disability and Chronic Care Management
OU Nursing Case Managers begin working with you by providing a comprehensive in-home assessment. The in-home assessment allows care managers to better understand the personal, medical, and other psycho-social needs of the family member in need. Maddox says the goal is to better understand how your family lives and how to help relieve some of the stress caused by caring for a disabled family member.
With the decreasing lengths of hospital stays, Maddox says safety assessments are a crucial part of care management.
And while care management helps determine the proper course of care, it also has an added benefit of saving the family member money.
Maddox can’t imagine doing any other kind of nursing.
“You see the education you provide, the stability you provide and being an advocate for them is huge,” Maddox said. “Sometimes people don’t have anybody else to speak for them.”
Transitional Care Management
OU Nursing Case Managers collaborate with discharge staff to assist individuals transition from medical facility to home whether it is a hospital, skilled faculty or nursing home. The goal is to have a safe transition between levels of care and help them be safe wherever their home is.
Geriatric Care Management
Geriatric Case Managers provide a variety of services for you and your older adult loved one. A Professional Case Manager often begins working with you by providing an in-home assessment. After the assessment a care plan with recommendations is provided to you. You decide what to do.
The care plan will serve as a roadmap to help you and your loved one make informed decisions about healthcare, housing, and other quality of life options. There is no obligation to implement any portion of the care plan; you simply have the necessary information and tools to make good decisions. If you choose to implement all or part of the care plan, OU can help.
Maddox says it often helps to have an objective, third party provide information and options to families. The emotional nature of making decisions about your aging loved one can often cause additional stress on the family.
OU Nursing Case Managers are a neutral, supportive professional to help ease the burden associated with caring for an aging or ill family member.
The OU Nursing Care Management program has locations in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton and Elk City to help individuals statewide. For a professional consultation for Private Care Management, call Lisa Macias at 1-866-416-4980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.