In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals are feeling increasingly burned out. According to the World Medical Association, over half of doctors worldwide are currently suffering from at least one symptom of burnout. All other healthcare workers are also likely to be suffering from a greater volume of burnout as well.
As the healthcare system recovers from the pandemic, the industry needs tools to ensure our physicians and other healthcare professionals stay recharged and engaged so we can weather other future healthcare challenges. Care management supports our health care providers and improves the quality of care, too. Investing in care management is one of the best tools available to help avoid professional burnout as physicians and healthcare professionals treat seniors.
What is Care Management in a Senior Context?
Care management is like an organizational system for your healthcare. Seniors in particular receive care from many different people. A professional caregiver, a family physician, specialists, nurses, therapists, and physiotherapists maybe just a few of the professionals involved in their care. Since most seniors have more than one health condition they are managing, there is a lot of overlap between these different healthcare providers.
Bouncing from one provider to the next causes many seniors to feel disengaged with the care that they receive. Care management seeks to change this by better-coordinating efforts between multiple caregivers and empowering the patient to take control of their health. For example, when every health care provider knows that the therapist will chart a depressed patient’s mental state, and the home caregiver will assess the healing of a diabetic’s injuries, and the physician will order blood tests, they can each spend time focusing on the care they provide that the other specialized professional caregivers cannot.
In order to begin care management, a patient’s health care team needs to create a comprehensive care plan or rely on one that has already been created (for example, in a hospital-to-home program). To execute this plan there needs to be clear, solid lines of communication between each professional.
How Care Management Reduces Burnout
The root cause of healthcare worker burnout is being overworked or having a work environment that is too demanding and stressful. Care management can help reduce the demand on time and lower the overall stress levels for these medical professionals with:
- Fewer and shorter appointments: As other members of the care team perform their role, each does not have to duplicate tasks or run extra tests. This efficiency can significantly shorten the length of appointments and render some obsolete altogether, which results in fewer demands on all health care workers.
- More engaged and healthy patients: A patient who is more engaged is more pleasant to work with and more likely to take health care directives seriously. Working with these patients is less stressful. When seniors take charge of their health the health outcomes are better, which is also rewarding for the care team.
- Better work relationships: No one wants to go it alone. Healthcare workers who are part of a care management team have better communication with each other, with families and patients. This support system is key to preventing burn out.
All healthcare workers can benefit from creating care management teams and plans for their patients. The patients will benefit too! For more advice and coaching, we encourage you to schedule a call with one of the dedicated Aging Life Care Managers™ in our network.