Case management is frequently done by case managers who work with clients’ to help improve their health, wellness and autonomy. This is done through advocacy and the identification and utilization of a variety of services and resources. The process of managing cases requires time consuming, multi-tasking and emotionally challenging work. At the end of the day, the goal of case management is to most effectively and respectfully meet clients needs. So, what are the best strategies that make for the most successful case management? Here are five specific strategies that every case manager needs to know for successful case management.
Know the Logistics.
The best way to assess and work to help meet your clients unique needs is to know the logistics and processes for current services and resources. This way, you will be able to know what exactly your clients can utilize and identify the steps for them to obtain these services and resources. Being knowledge and doing your research on what is available is one of the best ways to connect your clients to the best services and resources, in a timely and efficient manner.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills are Key.
People who manage cases are in constant communication with their clients, families, services, and other case managers. Successful case management requires clear and considerate communication towards all involved in the process. It's important for those who are managing cases to remain calm and professional at all times, even during times of high stress and frustration. Additionally, it’s essential to be mindful of the language that you use when working with others and keep in mind each person you work with has their own specific life experiences and identities which make up the person that they are.
Recognize the Challenges.
When working on cases, case managers are likely to encounter their fair share of challenges within their caseload. Language barriers and mental health illness are just two of many of the possible challenges that case workers may face when working with clients--so how can case managers work to best meet these challenges? In order to accommodate challenges such as language barriers and mental health illness means educating yourself on how to recognize these challenges. Specifically, learn what resources are available to accommodate language barriers and, at the very least, make an effort to use plain or accessible language with clients who may not speak the same language as you. For mental health illness, make the effort to learn more about the role social workers play in mental health care.
Education is Constant.
As stated above, the life and work of a case manager working with a busy caseload is time-consuming. A large part of successful case management however, also requires a constant learning process about new strategies, services and resources. This means case managers should be flexible and adaptable to change as new knowledge is often extremely helpful for their clients. Make the effort to include your own education within your busy work schedule. At the end of the day, your experience will ultimately benefit your clients.
Remember to Humanize the Process.
Within all social work, everyone is human and doing their best on both ends--the clients and the case managers. Keep in mind that though the process is difficult and often systematic, it’s always important to humanize the process. These are real people who are relying on you to collaborate with them for improvement in their life.
Case management is no easy task, but is important and meaningful work. These strategies will hopefully help improve your case managing experience. If you are interested in learning more about case management and live in the Chicago area, check out this upcoming workshop (under the “Workshop” tab) on August 3rd hosted at DePaul University. The deadline for signing up is July 31st, so make sure you sign up before then!
Learn more about cultural diversity, inclusivity and humility services by checking out resources and training provided by MCS Chicago.
Contributing Writer: Brittany A. Hamilton
Photo Credit: Ernesto Eslava