By On December 6th, 2005

TBI Case Manager: An Inside Tip

This morning, I walked into my office and listened to a dozen case-related messages, half of them completely new to me. I have just enough time to jot them all down before I head off to a morning meeting, where we discuss what’s going on with our current patients and what their treatment holds for them. When I return to the office, I start returning calls from the East coast, and begin making my way westward to compensate for the time difference.

By lunch, I’m nearly done returning calls, what with all the phone calls and emails I receive in the meanwhile. In the afternoon, I find time to respond to all the cases that endlessly accumulate. The problem is never finding a facility–it’s finding a facility that has an opening. Brain injuries are happening at such an astonishing rate, that waiting lists are becoming the norm everywhere.

Over time, I’ve developed an eye for the facility that is flexible and responsive–a place that is willing to work through bureaucracy and insurance obstacles. Unfortunately, those facilities are few and far between. So, for the survivor, family, or case worker who is trying to find a TBI rehab, here are a few tips to consider:

–Look for a rehab that has a high staff to patient ratio as a rule of thumb, not as an exception.
–Ask how many patient beds the rehab hospital has. The more patients they treat, the more you should ask yourself: is a large, sprawling, active setting what I need? Or am I looking for a smaller, soothing, responsive environment?
–Be willing to go out of state. Most people with a moderate to severe TBI are forced to find treatment hundreds of miles from home because treatment is so specialized.
–Ask if there is someone on staff who acts as an advocate for pending patients. If you’re like most people, you will need someone willing and knowledgeable to call insurance companies, Medicaid contacts, and DHS caseworkers.

Most people with TBI are happy just to have a few choices in treatment. By asking the right questions, it’s better to have a couple of great choices than lots of inappropriate ones.

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