What is a Case Manager, who can become one, and how is it different from more traditional healthcare careers?
Brittany Hudson, Human Resources Administrator of Staffing and Recruitment at the Champlain Community Care Access Centre in Ottawa, provides another perspective.
Read our Q&A with her below to find out what she looks for when hiring Case Managers (also called Care Coordinators), why healthcare professionals choose to pursue this alternative career path, and how students and grads can prepare for careers in this role.
Q. What is a Case Manager/Care Coordinator?
A. A Case Manager is the advocate at the center of a client’s care who assesses their needs and develops a care plan to meet those needs and keep clients in their homes for as long as possible. The care plan would include a mix of services provided through CCAC from our provider agencies, or resources that are available within the community. They would follow the client through the care plan, reassess and make changes depending on the changing needs.
Q. Who can become a Case Manager/Care Coordinator?
A. A Case Manager is an experienced Registered Nurse (BScN or diploma), a Social Worker, an Occupational Therapist, a Physiotherapist, a Speech Language Pathologist, or a Registered Dietician with membership in good standing with a regulatory body in Ontario.
Q. Why would someone want to become a Case Manager/Care Coordinator instead of following the more traditional career path of their chosen profession?
A. It’s a change from a traditional, hands-on clinical role where you may be only seeing through one specific or targeted point of a client’s care. As a Case Manager, you’re the hub that connects the client to care from each discipline (depending on their needs) and advocating for the client as a whole. It’s also an interesting environment as it’s a mix between being in an office setting, a hospital and seeing the client in their homes. A big benefit is that there are no overnight shifts!
Q. Is it challenging to attract Case Managers/Care Coordinators from certain professional backgrounds?
A. Most of the applications that we receive are from Registered Nurses, and I think it’s because these professionals within that community are more aware of our services. I would say about half come from Registered Nurses, and the other half from Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Social Workers. We don’t receive a lot of Speech Language Pathologists or Registered Dieticians, but for the latter I think that’s because of a recent change – they could not be Case Managers before.
Q. Do Case Managers/Care Coordinators need to be able to speak both English and French?
A. For some positions, we do need to have candidates that can speak both languages, but not all. The language skill needed for a position is based on the clients that you would be serving. For bilingual positions at the Champlain CCAC, which is located in the Ottawa area, we have our candidates complete French testing. Given our very diverse population, speaking additional languages of any kind is always a benefit!
Q. What can a student or new grad do to ensure they have the qualifications to eventually become a Case Manager/Care Coordinator?
A. Having their current registration is a must, and ideally they should also have a few years of experience. When I talk to students or recent grads, I always say that they should look to our service providers (the agencies we contract for our services) for entry-level career opportunities because it will allow them to get a few years of clinical experience, and to get a good understanding of CCAC from that perspective. Completing summer student programs or student placements in hospitals, with service providers or directly with CCAC is always a great way to gain experience.
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.