By Sue Lukersmith (Univeristy of Sydney), Michael Millington (University of Sydney) and Luis Salvador-Carulla (Australia National University)
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Case management makes a unique contribution towards the long-term care, participation and support of a person with a complicated health condition. Case management is used in diverse contexts yet goes by different names. We see case managers from different health and social care backgrounds working in hospital, rehabilitation, long term care and community settings to support people with disabilities, older persons and chronic health conditions. Case management is a complex intervention. The complexity arises from the interaction of the different components: the model (theoretical basis), implementation context (service), population and health condition, the goals of the person/their family, the focus (target) and what the case manager does (actions). There is no common language because of the complexity and variability in case management, which impedes practice, quality analysis, policy and planning.
Over 18 months, Australian researchers developed the taxonomy of case management for a common understanding and language using different methods. The taxonomy identifies the components of case management and their relationship (two taxonomy trees) and provides a glossary. The service tree comprises acute, mobility and intensity characteristics. The intervention tree comprises nine main actions, 17 actions, 8 related actions of case manager interventions. It was developed over 18 months using different methods in four steps
After testing for feasibility, the taxonomy was disseminated to more than 50 different groups of people in 11 countries through personalised presentations or non-personalised methods such as conferences, and internet based media. The people exposed to the taxonomy came from International organisations, policy makers from macro and meso organisations, research, education and training sectors, and service delivery. Six months later the researchers assessed the impact of dissemination and how it had been used.
There was shown to be highly acceptable and practical as a tool in different sectors The case management taxonomy had been used as a common language and framework to better understand what is case management. Case managers and services had used the taxonomy in their day to day work and business structures. It was adopted into meso organisation policy, the concepts and language had been adopted in international frameworks, embedded in tertiary education and used in research.