Imagine what it would be like if every patient interaction you had was over the telephone. The only information you could gather about a patient’s well-being is from the sounds coming from the phone at the other end of the connection.
For our population health case managers, that’s their reality every day. And they do an amazing job. They work to ensure that our patients are receiving the care and resources they need after they are discharged from NHRMC. It’s not a 9-to-5 job, of course. Patients call with questions whenever they come up. If a patient gets home and needs assistance, the case manager must be the problem solver, regardless of the time of day.
Joan Hancock, the NHRMC May Employee of Excellence is one of these case managers. She works effectively with the floor managers, with skilled nursing facilities, and family members to ensure the patients receive the right care as they transition from our facility. This enables the patients to recover better and reduces readmissions, a key plank in NHRMC’s strategic plan.
This case manager also communicates with the patients. And, as her manager said, she doesn’t just listen to the words that are said.
Here’s an example from her manager:
“It is challenging to assess a patient over the phone—without having eyes on the patient. Very often you need to listen to what is not being said as well as what is being stated,” her manager Mary DiCostanzo said.
Joan’s nomination detailed an experience where a patient had returned to family care. After locating the patient, Joan asked how the patient was doing. The patient responded that he was fine, but Joan detected shortness of breath during their phone conversation. She reached out to the Community Paramedics and asked them to drive to the patient and get oxygen levels to determine if this patient needed home oxygen. The Community Paramedic visited the patient the same day and verified that the patient did indeed require oxygen at home.
Joan updated the Primary Care Physician on the patient’s condition and contacted the oxygen supplier. The patient received his home oxygen the same day. Then Joan reconnected him with his PCP, whom he hadn’t seen in almost a year.
That patient might have a better outcome because Joan listened to the patient. Not just the spoken words but other indications she hears from experience and intuition.
For her efforts in helping this patient, and so many others, regardless of the time of day Joan Hancock, Case Manager in Population Health, is the May Employee of Excellence!
2019 Employees of Excellence
January: Gray Boone
February: Mary Hamrick
March: Sherrie Elixson
April: Crystal Eason
May: Joan Hancock