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Research shows effectiveness of remote case management

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Remote working in case management can be a safe and effective means of interacting with clients, new research has found.

Three research projects commissioned and funded by CMSUK analysed how effective remote working and use of telerehabilitation could be in case management.

The projects – which assessed the barriers and challenges of remote working, the safety and quality of telerehabilitation, and its effectiveness – have demonstrated how effective it can be, supported by training for case managers where needed.

Case managers across the UK have been forced to resort to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning many have had to adapt and learn as they go, while also supporting their clients in adopting technology as a means of communication.

CMSUK commissioned the research projects as a result of the lack of existing guidance available to case managers.

Each year, the organisation funds a research project, but due to the unprecedented circumstances of 2020, decided to commission three smaller projects to assess the full spectrum of telerehabilitation.

“This has been a very important project and we have shown that remote working can work very well for case managers,” says Dr Devdeep Ahuja, director of CMSUK.

“Previously, it was widely thought that delivering rehab intervention remotely was only suitable for minor injuries, and that it didn’t work for complex cases, but we are showing that it can. We look at key aspects of where it works and where it doesn’t, and there are many ways in which remote working can be just as effective as in-person.

“It is important that proper training is given if necessary to ensure it is safe to deliver case management remotely, but providing that is done and proper procedures are followed, then we have found it can be very effective.”

CMSUK’s commitment to researching and sharing best practice with its membership and wider case management community was at the root of its review of remote working, says Dr Ahuja.

“Our focus is on promoting research to create evidence-based practice and when COVID-19 came, and we had to quickly adapt to online remote working, it became clear that there wasn’t enough guidance out there,” says Dr Ahuja, who leads the CMSUK research sub committee.

“That is why we wanted to take action and create some research. Remote working will probably be in existence for some time to come, so it was important we acted on this, that is what we do at CMSUK.

“By creating practical strategies, we can then help deliver them. By identifying what steps we need to take, we can then help to ensure these are put in place, and support our case managers with the practical steps and caveats they need to consider.”

The annual grant made by CMSUK to fund a research project – including its funded systematic review made in 2019,The effectiveness of a case management approach to care for adults who suffer trauma through injury: protocol for a systematic review by Heidi Stevens, which is set to be published imminently – was given to three applicants instead of one to aid the creation of a comprehensive review in a shorter timescale.

“By splitting the grant three ways, we could look at multiple aspects of remote working and collect the findings in a relatively short period of time, so we could share this research for the benefit of our case managers,” adds Dr Ahuja.

“Given the circumstances and the need to support case managers with research and best practice evidence going forward, it was important we did this. We hope our projects will be of great benefit to case managers in their ongoing use of remote working.”

For further findings from the research projects, visit www.cmsuk.org.

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