“Case management” is the process of keeping your client’s life whole. In the behavioral health field, this means making sure they get the right medication, therapy, and resources at the right stages of treatment and need. It also means helping them with things like housing and transportation.
Timing and Allocation of Resources is a Challenge
Working with people, their needs, others resources, and schedules can be disharmonious and disruptive at the same time. Everyone has a tendency to be emotional, or at least to act from an emotional place.
You have to manage this, in yourself and others. It’s easy for people’s feelings, needs and problems to get in the way of your ability to help them. You’ll need to figure out what a client’s true, pressing needs are, because those can be different from what they think their real needs are.
They may not even understand themselves or their situation very well. So, when trying to give them what they want—because that is all we can do as human beings and providers—it can be frustrating if they don’t respond positively or if they react negatively.
Knowing how to couch and deliver services is one skill. And, teaching about the hierarchy of needs in treatment is another. Being another support for knowing themselves helps in these situations. We cannot give up hope on helping others achieve contentment—as people or as professionals.
The Multi-Faceted Role of Case Management
Case management is about “keeping your client whole,” according to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). A case manager helps clients obtain services from a variety of sources, including behavioral health organizations and other community resources. Case managers may also manage caseloads for their clients or organizations.
A case manager’s responsibilities can include assisting with application paperwork, determining eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), communicating with doctors who are treating the client’s mental illness so they understand what services are being provided by the organization.
They also communicate how this might impact treatment plans, and connect clients to financial assistance when necessary such as helping someone fill out an application for food stamps or housing vouchers. They find affordable housing if needed or counseling someone when homelessness issues arise leaving an abusive relationship (such as domestic violence), for example. The list goes on.
Case Management Training in Behavioral Health
Case managers are trained professionals with a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Some may have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, social work, or a similar field. Others may have relevant experience in the behavioral health field. The majority of case managers are required to participate in additional training offered by their employer before they can manage cases independently.
Some states require case managers to complete an internship before they can become licensed as professionals; other states license them after they’ve completed their education and supervised “shadowing” or “service” requirements.
Regardless of where you live and work, becoming a case manager will likely involve several years of schooling and training beyond high school graduation.
Case Management Environments in Behavioral Health
Case managers work in a variety of environments. They can be found in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and community agencies. In addition to working with clients from different backgrounds (age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, affiliation, etc.), case managers also serve clients who have a wide range of physical and mental health conditions.
Case managers interact with many people on a daily basis; some of their colleagues are mental health professionals such as psychiatrists or psychologists; others are social workers; and still others may be nurses, therapists, or doctors.
One thing that all these individuals have in common is that they have an interest in helping others achieve their desired outcome: client recovery.
Discovering Excellence in Case Management
Before you begin searching for a case manager, it’s important to have a clear idea of what qualities most essential to a competent, compassionate professional in this capacity:
- Licensed and registered
- Member of the National Association of Social Workers
- Experienced with chronic mental illness or substance abuse disorders
- Comfortable talking about diverse problems and concerns
Giving the Client Wholesome Wellness
Case management is the glue that keeps your client whole. The case manager is the one who ensures that all of your client’s needs are met, and they do this by keeping the client accountable to their treatment plan, ensuring clinical progress, providing support and education when needed, and helping them navigate an otherwise stressful situation in life.
Case managers are also responsible for keeping clients safe from harm—physically as well as mentally (and often both). They ensure that clients adhere to prescribed medications or other medical treatments so they remain healthy and do not self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
They work with clients through mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety to find safe housing or shelter if necessary, connecting families with resources like childcare or transportation assistance when needed. In short, they integrate healthcare, available resources, and the communities they serve.
More, case management plays a critical role in preventing recidivism among inmates returning from jail or prison back into society after serving sentences. Case managers help individuals find stable housing upon reentry into society which reduces homelessness rates significantly (a major risk factor for reoffending), provides supportive services such as counseling and therapy sessions at no cost thanks to Medicaid coverage.
This keeps costs low while increasing chances of success among individuals transitioning back into daily life after incarceration periods—especially when there aren’t enough resources available locally.
Why Case Management Deserves Operative Support
Case management keeps clients whole. It’s a job that takes patience, dedication and compassion. Case managers have to be willing to make themselves available around-the-clock in many cases to help someone through their daily crises.
This isn’t just an entry-level support position; case managers are some of the most experienced people in the industry. They understand the ins-and-outs of one of the most complex healthcare systems in the world—the US behavioral healthcare complex.
Haven Healthcare Management offers partnered services to enhance your case management infrastructure through third-party behavioral health management. If your case management and clients, as a result, are struggle to stay glued together—look into fully managed healthcare service, and become a partner.