Health care doesn’t only take place in a doctor’s office or hospital.
With people living longer than ever and an ageing population in general, community-based health care will become increasingly important.
And as Canadians need more help navigating the increasingly complex health care system to access the services they need to stay healthy, health care professionals who can point them in the right direction will be crucial, such as the Community Care Access Centre case manager/care coordinator.
Case managers assess client needs and potential risks, identify priorities, design creative service plans, monitor for continuing eligibility of services and manage a diverse mix of caseloads.
They delicately balance each client’s unique needs, concerns, values and preferences, and problem-solve service delivery issues.
This could include balancing client needs with available resources, as well as mediating and negotiating the resolution of conflicts involving clients and service providers.
Opportunities exist for case managers/care coordinators to work in a variety of settings – in the community, a hospital environment or in a CCAC main office.
Although case managers typically require one to two years of work experience, in case management, it’s important for students and recent graduates to think about their career progression early on.
That’s why we asked Meghan Loshaw, a recruitment specialist in human resources at the Central East Community Care Access Centre in Whitby, Ont., for more information about becoming a case manager/care coordinator.
Q. What are the key responsibilities of a case manager?
A. The key responsibilities of a case manager are: assessing, planning, directing, implementing, monitoring and authorizing service delivery to clients that best meet the needs of the client within the mission, vision and values of the Community Care Access Centre. They require the ability to work independently and within a team to maximize quality outcomes for clients as well as the organization.
Q. Why is there currently a demand for case managers? Will that demand continue in the future?
A. The recent implementation of the Home First program in Central East’s service area, for example, allows patients to transition from hospital to their home more efficiently and allows them to recover in the comfort of their home while receiving enhanced CCAC and other community support services. This increases the demand for case managers as the CCAC has become a crucial partner in leading these health care initiatives. As this is a new and growing program, I anticipate that the demand of case managers will continue into the future.
Q. When you’re hiring case managers, what do you look for?
A. When hiring case managers, we look for their ability to demonstrate excellent interpersonal, communication, and decision making skills. A candidate who would fit well within the CCAC is someone who demonstrates their ability to work independently and co-operatively in a busy multi-disciplinary situation; who is flexible and able to deal with a constantly changing environment.
Q. In your opinion, what does a good case manager resumé look like?
A. A good case manager resumé is organized, concise and structured in a way that demonstrates their key skills and experiences related to the position they are applying into. A steady work history, continuous education and volunteer experience in related fields is also desirable.
Q. Why do case managers typically need at least one to two years of experience as a nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech language pathologist or social worker?
A. Case managers deal with complex situations everyday and having the previous experience allows them to deal with situations of all levels with confidence. Having both the clinical abilities as well as the knowledge of community resources is an asset. Typically it will take one to two years for all of this to be established.
TalentEgg Tip: Case manager positions require a B.Sc.N, B.Sc.PT, B.Sc.OT, M.Sc.SP, MSW, BSW or RN with another degree or diploma in a health related field. Individuals must be currently licensed or registered according to the requirements of the profession in the province of Ontario and have community health or related clinical experience.
Q. Why can people from such diverse clinical backgrounds all become qualified for the same job?
A. As it is not the clinical skill that is the only requirement, their role is to manage case loads from many programs (children’s through to end of life) and having this diversity allows for case managers to pull from each other’s backgrounds and skill sets. Regardless of the background, the qualifications require people to be client-focused, flexible and adaptable to change, which would be developed through any of these professional backgrounds.
Q. How can students/recent graduates best determine if becoming a case manager might be right for them?
A. If you are a health care professional who strives for autonomy and the ability to advocate for your clients, then this role is for you. Many of our current case managers have indicated that a highlight of this role and something that makes it unique is the ability that they have to follow through with clients’ care plans from start to finish.
Community Care Access Centres connect people with the care they need, at home and in their communities. CCACs help people find their way through Ontario’s health care system, understand their options and connect them to quality community based health care and resources.
In total, there are 14 CCACs in communities across Ontario that are funded by Local Health Integration Networks through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This means that CCAC advice and services are covered by OHIP.