Shepherd Center Case Manager Explains how She Helps Patients and Families
This National Case Management Week, Kathie Kurtz, MS, CCM, shares what she loves most about her job.
By Kathie Kurtz, MS, CCM, case manager at Shepherd Center
This National Case Management Week, I want to share a little bit about our profession and how case managers work with patients, families and the healthcare team. I’ve been a case manager for 30 years, with the past 20 years at Shepherd Pathways. Most recently, I accepted a case management position with the Spinal Cord Injury Day Rehabilitation Program, Shepherd Center’s comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation program for people with spinal cord injury and other neuromuscular conditions.
Case management is a valued position within any Shepherd Center program. Every day, we work with a team of therapists and physicians to provide a comprehensive plan of care for the patient.
The part of my job that I most enjoy is my involvement with patients and families. Often, the case manager is the first person to meet with the family and patient upon their admission to Shepherd Center. Our families are emotionally drained after the trauma their loved one has suffered, yet they are reassured they are in the best place they can be within the Shepherd walls. Fear of the unknown and anxiety can manifest in many ways with trauma. Our job is to empathize with patients and families, remaining sensitive to the emotional struggles that they face. From day one, we identify what goals are important to them and the barriers to returning home. We gain an understanding of what supports are needed for the client to return home, available resources and insurance parameters. We also form a partnership with the external case manager, if one is involved with the patient’s care, to meet the patient’s treatment and discharge setting needs.
All of this is within the backdrop of working with the best therapists, physicians, nurses, techs and managers at Shepherd who are equally invested in working with our patients to meet their goals. Relationships are formed that remain well after the patient leaves our program. I get to witness firsthand the progress our patients make, and the difference Shepherd makes in the lives of so many. I am so proud to be a part of the Shepherd family.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.