Case managers are professionals who help people with a variety of problems. Generally, case managers coordinate care, and find and connect individuals with needed services. The job of a case manager can be complex, and involves many different dynamics. As such, clear goals and objectives are required to organize the process, and will help the case manager to find ways to best serve the client.
Goals in case management should be based on a solid assessment and intake. Case managers must first engage clients to find out what they need. An assessment consists of talking to the client about what she wants to change and why she wants or needs case management services. Assessments involve a series of questions that the case manager asks in order to look at the client’s overall well being, taking into consideration her biopsychosocial, sociocultural and financial functioning.
Goals for individual clients vary greatly. This is because people requiring case management can have complicated problems, such as homelessness, drug addiction, parenting issues and poverty, among many others. Some clients may be looking to obtain help with basic, direct services, such as obtaining food stamps, while others may need more intensive help with issues such as mental illness. It is important that clients create their goals in partnership with the case manager. In this way, the client has a sense of self-advocacy, and is actively involved in the process. This collaboration also keeps the focus of the work on the client’s interests.
Using information gathered in the initial assessment, the case manager creates goals and strategies for working with the individual client. For instance, the case manager may plan specific interventions, such as collaborating with mental or medical health professionals on the client’s behalf, or come up with strategies for crisis intervention should difficult situations arise. While the client can and should be involved in this process, this is the area where the case manager uses his expertise to devise plans to best help the client.
Organization and Evaluation
Good case management requires organization. Organizing work into short and longer-term goals is helpful. Similarly, looking at the different types of goals helps to best serve the client’s needs. Some goals may have to do with logistical concerns, such as housing or job training, while others may be less concrete, such as improving mental or physical health. To keep on track, it is also important that the case manager work with the client to reevaluate goals on a regular basis and track which goals have been met and where improvements are needed. In this way, the client can be best served.
- Case Management Society of America: What is a Case Manager?; 2011
- National Association of Social Workers; Case Management With Older Adults: A Social Work Perspective; Lisa Yagoda, LICSW, ACSW; 2004
- National Association of Social Workers; NASW Standards for Social Work Case Management; 2011
- Pubmed: Factors related to successful goal attainment in case management; Kistrhardt WE, Gowdy E, Rapp CA; 1992
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