On his way to work, a 49-year-old man, Robert, was struck head-on by a drunk driver, causing extensive physical and emotional trauma.
Prior to the accident, Robert didn’t have any health concerns. As a result of the accident, he suffered from a traumatic brain injury, a jawbone fracture, a collarbone fracture, finger fractures, and multiple other issues. For proper healing, he needed care from several specialties including ortho foot/ankle, ortho knee, ortho shoulder, neurology, oral maxillofacial/plastic surgery, occupational and physical therapy. And he needed help understanding his medical coverage.
With extensive injuries to deal with, Robert and his family were not in a position to carefully navigate our health care system on their own. So they contacted our case management team and a registered nurse certified in case management jumped in immediately to assist.
The case manager started by assessing Robert’s current medical needs as well as his medical history. She confirmed the need for multiple specialists for proper treatment and then identified the highest-quality doctors to ensure he got the best care. From there, she assisted with coordinating care across specialists. She advocated for coverage of an oral maxillofacial/plastic surgeon to fix his jawbone fracture to avoid complications that could lead to additional, more costly treatments.
Case management also uncovered that Robert was suffering from emotional trauma following the accident. He was afraid to drive again and had severe anxiety associated with passing the scene of the accident. His wife was experiencing anxiety and apprehension as well. Our case manager helped them both work through their emotions and overcome their concerns.
By getting the right care from the best doctors in his network, Robert recovered quickly. He avoided complications that could have delayed his recovery and led to additional, more costly treatments. Therefore, he was able to return to work four months after the accident and was restored to full duty – quite an accomplishment given the extent of his injuries and the sensitive, complex nature of his work.
In addition, Robert was able to return to the scene of the accident and have closure. His wife was able to work through her anxiety around him driving and returning to work.
As a result of clinical case management, Robert learned how his lifestyle could affect his ability to recover and his overall health now and in the future. As a result, he made lifestyle improvements including cutting back on smoking considerably.