More than anything, Joe* just wanted to hold his newborn.
Suffering from the effects of COVID-19, his strength and overall health were greatly diminished. The thought of returning to his work as a security guard, much less providing security and support for his own family felt out of reach.
His wife was pregnant and it had already been a tough time for him as the breadwinner in his family. Since his initial diagnosis with the virus, Joe had been quarantined, hospitalized, placed on a ventilator, and given physical therapy. In spite of this, he remained deconditioned, unable to stand or walk for an extended period of time. Frustrated, Joe felt as though he was not getting what he needed to build himself back up. He knew the longer it took for him to recover, the longer his abilities to earn income for his family would be hampered.
This is where Broadspire case manager Lynnette Carr-Cowans stepped in to help Joe on his road to recovery.
The non-conventional road back to work. And welcoming new life.
While her 10-year tenure at Broadspire has brought with it a wealth of rich experiences, tackling COVID-19 was a completely different ballgame. The pandemic posed a threat, not only to the lives of people around the world, but also to how case managers would carry out tasks critical to helping injured workers like Joe. With all the safety restrictions in place, interacting with Joe and his physician face-to-face was simply impossible. “People will sometimes freeze up in front of physicians, so we are there to encourage them,” she noted. “That can be difficult to do when you can’t communicate in person.” Realizing this, Lynn was determined to find a way around this obstacle. In order to help Joe, she decided to go the extra mile.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Lynn immediately made arrangements to change the ways she would work with Joe. With a prescription from his physician, Joe was placed in a COVID-19 rehabilitation program that Lynn believed would help him recuperate. Check-ins were done virtually and Lynn joined via phone during Joe’s appointments with his physician, allowing them to continuously work together for a plan of care despite being unable to see each other in person.
Following four weeks of rehabilitation, Joe’s physical state greatly improved. It wasn’t long after until he fully recovered and received clearance to return to work. “I felt great,” Lynn shared.
“I was able to help him and get him back to where he was prior to his illness.”
Most importantly, through the help of Lynn, Joe returned to good health in time for a special event in his life – welcoming his newborn into the world. With his strength regained, Joe held his child in his arms, a tender, priceless moment for a father.
Finding opportunity in challenging situations
There is no doubt the pandemic has changed the way case managers work. “It has impacted how I interact with the clients and physicians. If I can’t join virtually, I will sit in the parking lot and wait until the exam is over if I need to,” Lynn explained. Her resourcefulness and commitment helped her create a different approach, and ultimately, enabled her to succeed in helping Joe recover. “I was really happy with the outcome. I felt great to help him get back to where he was.”
Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19, Lynn’s positivity and dedication remain unwavering. “We need to be resourceful and use the tools we have at hand to do our best for the injured worker,” she said.
The situation with Joe is not an isolated incident. Across the globe, individuals are being impacted by the pandemic and case managers are responding in unique ways. Whether it’s the COVID-19 pandemic or a new obstacle that comes our way, challenging circumstances can present an opportunity for case managers and others involved in managing a claim to think strategically and go the extra mile.
*not the injured worker’s real name