By Jeni Miller

Case management is a relationship-based profession that benefits health systems, patients, colleagues, and case managers.

Establishing strong relationships with representatives from the long-term care continuum, including skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, memory care units, and assisted living and independent living communities, is important for case managers.

Lindsey Broyles, HFA, is the executive director of Coventry Meadows Assisted Living in Fort Wayne, IN. Hospital Case Management (HCM) asked Broyles what case managers should look for when planning a transition to long-term care. Broyles offers tips on how to foster relationships with representatives at long-term care facilities.

HCM: How can case managers best form solid relationships with local long-term care facilities? 

Broyles: The best way for case managers to form a mutual relationship is to follow up with the admission directors regarding referral updates. The admission director is responsible for growing census in the community, [while the] case manager [focuses on] safe and efficient discharge planning from the hospital. If the two roles merge their goals together to help one another, the relationship will be strong.

HCM: What are the best questions for case managers to ask about facilities?

Broyles: It’s important that the case manager understand the insurance contracts, location, and service lines associated with each facility. The case manager has to work quickly to start discharge planning on day one. If the case manager knows which insurance and service lines the facility accepts, this will expedite the process. Families and residents also want to make it convenient for families to visit while in the long-term care facility. Knowing the locations of the facilities helps narrow the decision that’s to be made.

HCM: What are some red flags that case managers should look for in long-term care facilities?

Broyles: The best way to discover red flags about a long-term care facility is to ask questions of residents and family members and listen carefully. If there is a patient who admits from a long-term care facility but does not want to return to their facility, ask why.

Likewise, ask the residents who want to return to their facility, why. The word-of-mouth discussion about a facility will give the most accurate account of patients’ day-to-day experiences.

HCM: How can developing a good working relationship with local long-term care facilities help make the discharge planning process smoother for case managers?

Broyles: Communication is the bridge to a smooth process. If you have developed a relationship with the admissions director, the communication and flow can be seamless.