I have experience in case management with the behavioral mental health provider Our Children First, which serves clients ages 3-18 throughout Volusia and Flagler Counties, headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Because I have an ethical and legal obligation to protect the privacy of case management clients served by Our Children First, I’m not going to go into details about specific client information or lay out a case sample and service plan, even withholding personal identifying information. Instead, I’ll describe the kind of work involved in case management, to give the reader a sense of the occupation.
Many of the case management clients served by the provider Our Children First have mental illnesses, such as post traumatic stress disorder as a result of severe abuse, but may also have academic delays or poor academic performance, poor social or role functioning, poor cognitive performance, difficulty learning or concentrating, medical problems and lack access to basic goods, such as adequate food and clothing.
These are just examples of the sorts of clients served by Our Children First, but this is not to say that if someone is receiving services from this provider, the client necessarily has any (or all) of these issues. Again, I’m merely generalizing in order to protect client privacy, but also giving the reader a sense of what’s involved in the work.
A case manager involved with this type of case management does a variety of things.
First and foremost, is the gathering of information. In my experience as a case manager, I have requested and/or reviewed medical, psychiatric, psychological, scholastic, legal and other private information.
Gathering this information is important in getting a good sense of all of the client’s needs. The goal is to provide services that will improve the client’s functioning, performance and general well being. So a comprehensive understanding of the client is paramount.
In addition to official records, interviews with teachers, doctors and others, to gather information, the case manager interviews the client to assess the client and get first hand information about how the client is doing, what she or he hopes to accomplish, and things along those lines.
Along with the client, a case manager then develops a service plan which is a document stating what services the clients will receive, why they are needed, and what the intended outcomes will be as a result of those services.
After the service plan is developed, reviewed and signed by the client (and, where required by law, client’s guardian), the case manager then goes about putting the plan to action–putting in referrals, making appointments, monitoring goal progress, and so on.
Services that may be needed for a client include: individual and family counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, tutoring, involvement with structured peer activities, dental assistance, neurological screening, IEP development, behavior modification, and so forth.
Once the service plan is in action, the case manager continually monitors goal progress, reevaluates the needs of the client, is involved with various services provided, and ensures the client is getting the proper services.
Once the goals have been met and the services are no longer needed, the client’s case is closed, but an aftercare plan is developed to ensure that the client remains healthy.
A case manager’s caseload may be anywhere from 18-26+ clients at a time, and each client is to be provided with the same comprehensive care.
This job requires, among other things: investigation, interviewing skills, research abilities, knowledge of general treatments and services that improve performance, empathy, knowledge of specific therapies that are most effective for certain illnesses, knowledge of psychotropic medications, the ability to interact with a wide variety of professionals, the ability to help the client establish goals and help the client meet those goals, organizational skills, project management skills and time management skills.