March 1, 2010
Clinical Services Employee of Year brings compassion to role as case manager
By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News
When Ruthie Adams was named Methodist Rehab’s latest Clinical Services Employee of the Year, the award highlighted a profession that doesn’t always get its due.
“A lot of times, case managers don’t get recognized because we work behind the scenes,” explains Adams. “Even the patients might not realize all we do until they get home.”
Case managers are the liaisons who link patients and their families with the physical, emotional, educational and financial resources to meet their needs. That can mean everything from coordinating and monitoring inpatient rehabilitation services to helping families translate confusing insurance forms.
Readying patients for life outside the hospital is a primary role for case managers at MRC, and it’s an area where Adams excels, says Susan Greco, vice president for patient care services.
“She’s a great representative of MRC,” Greco said. “She goes the extra mile in discharging patients to the most appropriate venue. We have received several letters of recommendation on her this year.”
Adams, who received her certification in rehabilitation nursing in 1993, became a case manager for brain injury patients after five years as a registered nurse for the spinal cord injury program.
She says that experience as a caregiver gave her insight into the concerns of patients and families as they face the prospect of going home from the hospital. “Working with patients at that level gave me an understanding of their needs,” she said. “I try to put myself in their position.”
It’s a mission that keeps Adams busy wrangling with insurance company red tape and running down resources so that patients get the help they need. “Sometimes I feel like I’m begging for folks half the time,” she says with a smile. But doing what it takes is a role she relishes.
“I want them to be satisfied,” she said. “I try to treat them like I would want to be treated.”