The COVID-19 pandemic makes care coordination and case management more difficult for a variety of reasons. For instance, finding community resources for struggling senior patients is difficult in areas where organizations have closed operations or restricted access to services. Also, senior adults face more loneliness and emotional health challenges. They have lost access to many of their traditional social support networks because of physical distancing during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed routine case management of older patients. Case managers have had to more creative in finding community resources and post-acute referrals for patients since many organizations were closed or limited in their services for months.
Many nursing homes across the country were hit hard by COVID-19. Clusters of infections popped up in almost all states, often leading to serious illness and deaths. These stark facts meant case managers and other healthcare professionals needed to be careful about how and when they would facilitate patients moving to and from long-term care facilities.
Leaders working in case management are under unforgiving time limits, pressures, and resource constraints that make decision-making difficult. The challenge relates to the way healthcare is moving and the speed with which change is occurring within organizations as they continue to change, form partnerships, and other issues.
In February, New York’s first COVID-19 cases were treated in Westchester County, a short train ride from Manhattan. With an analyst’s help, Westchester Medical Center worked bed optimization for the medical center’s 654 beds that included three COVID-19 patient care units: high-need intensive care unit beds, middle-need beds, and lower-need beds.
Hospital case management changed dramatically in the spring. Health systems began implementing far-reaching infection prevention measures and changed some operations to accommodate expected surges in patients with COVID-19. Social distancing is one of the most important ways to protect hospitals and public health, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.