case studies to develop interprofessional skills
Scenario 1
Mary is a 45 year old immigrant from Mexico. She is married, has a 13 year old son and a 15 year old daughter, and lives in Detroit, Michigan’s Southwest neighborhood. A month ago, she came into the emergency room with a broken leg.

When she was there, providers diagnosed her with diabetes and hypertension. She said that her left foot started feeling numb, prior to her fall.
Mary has not had her prescriptions filled, and is feeling very weak, with stomach pains. Her children have expressed concern about her health, and are performing poorly in school.
When asked about why she had not been taking her medication, she said “I know I need to—my kids need me around. I should be better about it, but I get busy.”

Questions to Consider

      1. What are some of the reasons for why Mary is not taking her prescriptions?
      2. As a team, how would you get Mary to take her prescriptions? What will each member of the team do the next time they see Mary?
      3. What role do the children play in Mary’s continued care?
    4. What other information do you need to have to give Mary the best possible care?

Scenario 2
Geoffrey is a 33 year old accountant, and lives in Kentwood, Michigan. Yesterday, a neighbor found him unconscious, near the entrance to his apartment, with a large bruise on his head. The neighbor called an ambulance, and Geoffrey was taken to the hospital. After he woke up, Geoffrey complained of back pains that had been persistent for days.

When the care team asked him about his injuries, Geoffrey downplayed any pain. He said, “Well, my back hasn’t been bothering me that bad. And my head doesn’t really hurt—it doesn’t even look that bad!” When asked about how he got the head injury, he said, “Oh, I don’t even really remember—I must’ve slipped and fell as I was coming home.” Regarding what he did that night, Geoffrey said he met up with some friends for dinner, and then he came right home. He said he had a glass of wine with dinner.

Rather than receive proper treatment, Geoffrey insisted that he be released from the hospital immediately.

When the ambulance arrived, the neighbor told the paramedic that he had been seeing Geoffrey less and less recently. The neighbor suspected Geoffrey was suffering from
alcoholism, but did not know how to approach Geoffrey about the subject.

Questions to Consider

      1. Does Geoffrey think that he may have a health condition that is interfering with his life?
      2. Should Geoffrey be released from the hospital? What would you need to know before his release?
    3. How should the suspicion of Geoffrey’s alcoholism be handled?

Scenario 3
Eric is a 17 year old junior at a high school in Lansing, Michigan. He is currently an inside linebacker for the school’s varsity football team, and has been a member of Model UN since his freshman year of high school. During his third year in high school, scouts from several universities have come to see Eric play.

In the past year, his grades have been suffering, and his family has noticed drastic swings in his mood for no apparent reason. Eric would get depressed one moment, then angry the next. Yesterday, Eric blacked out while doing homework after school. His parents took him to the emergency room, where several of his friends arrived shortly after he was admitted.

Since being admitted, Eric’s demeanor has been generally agreeable. He stated that he does not smoke, drink, or do drugs of any sort. Eric indicated that, for the past several months, he has suffered from extremely painful headaches, felt nauseous regularly, and has had a hard time sleeping.

Roughly 20 minutes after being admitted, Eric’s family requested that their son be released from the hospital.

Questions to Consider

      1. Is Eric aware that he may have a health condition that is interfering with his life? How would each member of the team educate Eric on potential conditions and their causes?
      2. What approaches would you take with Eric’s family?
      3. What role can Eric’s friends play in the provision of his care?
    4. Would you test Eric for illegal substances?