Setting You or Your Child Up for Success: How Care Coordinators Assist with Navigating Life Outside of Treatment
Care coordinators are a one-stop shop to help with navigating life outside of treatment. After admittance to one of our in-person or virtual treatment centers, our patients/their loved ones meet with their care coordinator to discuss their current aftercare plan. In this initial meeting, they go over current outpatient providers, if there are any FMLA/short-term disability needs, letters for school/work/jury duty/other responsibilities, and the initial plans for life after discharge from Eating Recovery Center (ERC) or Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center (Pathlight).
Care coordinators work with our patients/their loved ones to identify their current outpatient team and determine if there are any gaps in that team such as not having a dietitian or psychiatrist. For adult patients, this looks like connecting with their care coordinator throughout treatment to begin obtaining referrals and building their full outpatient team for when they return home. For children and adolescents, this looks like supporting parents by obtaining referrals for their child to have when they return home. Care coordinators are also able to assist with finding any specialized resources such as a dialectical behavior therapy support groups, a trauma therapist, substance use programs, etc.
- At ERC, the outpatient team includes a therapist specialized in eating disorders, a dietitian, a psychiatrist, and a primary care physician.
- At Pathlight, the outpatient team includes a therapist, a psychiatrist, and a primary care physician.
Care coordinators can help with navigating FMLA and/or short-term disability for patients and their families who are in higher levels of care such as inpatient, residential, and partial hospitalization. While Care coordinators are unable to start the FMLA or short-term disability process, they can help with its facilitation such as by filling out paperwork, calling the disability company together, and helping to advocate for patients’ needs while they’re in treatment. They are also able to assist parents/caregivers of child and adolescent patients with completing and sending FMLA/short-term disability paperwork to help advocate for the caregivers needs while their child is in treatment. To find out more about FMLA and short-term disability benefits, please reach out to your workplaces HR department.
Letters for school/work/jury duty, etc.
Care coordinators can assist with writing letters on the patients’/their loved ones’ behalf to state that they’re currently in treatment and unable to participate in school, work, clubs, jury duty, and other responsibilities. These letters can be as in-depth or restrictive as our patients/their loved ones would like them to be as not everyone is comfortable with their workplaces or schools knowing they’re in treatment. These letters are then signed by the patient’s psychiatrist or primary therapist to provide a licensed professional’s signature like a doctor’s note.
Care coordinators understand how difficult it can be to navigate the outside world while in treatment. While our patients fully immerse in treatment and work towards recovery, care coordinators work to make the eventual transition back home easier. Virtual care coordinators who support our virtual intensive outpatient program, offer the same support along with anything that might come up with being in the home environment and care virtually. Care coordinators are passionate about assisting with whatever needs a patient and their loved ones have. Here are some quotes from current care coordinators:
“I truly enjoy being able to support patients both clinically and operationally in my role of care coordinator. Whether they’re needing help with leave paperwork, referrals to a new outpatient provider or program, or just being available for questions they’re not sure where to go with, I’m there for our patients and they know they can approach me.” – Midwest Region Care Coordinator
“I really love being able to offer patients virtual treatment options. So many patients have busy lives, and I am glad we can offer them support remotely. It brings me joy to know we can offer such great programs to anyone who needs it.” – Virtual Care Coordinator
“I thoroughly enjoy helping connect patients with the resources they need to make the transition back home easier. Going into treatment can be scary, especially if you’re going across the country to a new state, so I always work with my patients where they’re at. And if I ever don’t know the answer to something they bring to me, I work to find an answer with them.” – Mountain Region Care Coordinator
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to use my own experiences with mental health care to help make accessing and moving through our program as smooth and stress-free as possible, allowing our patients and their families to more fully focus on the important work of recovery.” – Virtual Care Coordinator