10 Case Management Best Practices You Should Implement
As a case manager, the way you interact with clients significantly impacts their lives and reflects on your organization. However, the case management process is often overwhelming and complicated, which can make it harder to focus on your clients while delivering high-quality services. Incorporating effective case management practices into your workflow will help improve your organization, your engagement, and the level of care you provide.
All clients are different and procedures are ever-changing, so you should aim to evaluate and expand upon your case management practices regularly. In doing so, you can empower your clients and cultivate a stronger, mutually beneficial approach. Continue reading to learn about case management best practices you can adopt.
Elevate Your Case Management by Following Essential Best Practices
From social work organizations to nursing homes, case management's complex processes make it challenging to give clients the level of care they need. Utilizing resources such as industry news and human services software can help simplify these processes and return your focus to the clients. Below are 10 case management best practices that will elevate your services.
1. Cultivate a Client-Centered Approach
Maintaining a client-focused continuity of care is often easier said than done, especially amid workforce and protocol changes. There's no universal method for keeping your organization focused on clients, and most shortcomings are unintentional. Because of this, cultivating a client-centered approach is a constant battle that varies by case manager, client, and environment.
Below are a few strategies for maintaining a client-focused organization:
- Regularly survey clients and staff members.
- Encourage strength-based approaches.
- Develop plans around clients' needs.
- Provide resources for identifying stigmas and clients' changing needs.
- Use regular reminders to keep the focus on the clients.
- Utilize software that simplifies information for easier access.
- Consider when other case managers may be better suited for specific clients.
- Encourage more face-to-face interactions in hybrid settings.
2. Uphold Collaboration and Interdisciplinary Teamwork
Thanks to their unique skills, training, and experience, every case management team member has their own specialties in approaching clients. Sharing perspectives and ideas can significantly improve your management process and help you provide better care for your clients. Additionally, as case managers work together, they'll likely gain new skills and gather new resources, which they can then use to help future clients.
Encouraging teamwork and knowledge sharing can also help you identify underutilized team members, such as social workers with unique college training. If a case manager struggles with a specific client's needs, they can consult a coworker with more applicable experience. From here, they can share resources, suggest the next steps to take, or smoothly transfer the client to someone else if needed.
3. Perform Comprehensive Assessments of Client Information
Providing unbiased and fully informed client assessments is a crucial aspect of social work. Unfortunately, for many case managers, avoiding misjudgments during intake and reviews is difficult amid workplace changes, administrative tasks, and shifting client needs.
Many organizations now use human services software to help with the assessment process by compiling and analyzing client records. However, simply using any case management software isn't enough to ensure your assessments are comprehensive. The software you use must be dependable in its analyses, and case managers must understand what to do with the information.
Each client is unique, and even the most complex algorithms can't evaluate every human's needs. Case management software such as Casebook isn't meant to create assessments for you, but rather to make clients' information more comprehensible for an easier, more focused assessment process.
4. Perform Regular Evaluations
Regular evaluations help ensure your organization consistently provides high-quality services. This is especially critical amid social work changes, as new protocols, needs, and concerns could require your focus to shift.
Staying up to date on industry changes is a vital aspect of case management because it helps you identify specific areas of improvement. For example, reading current studies about racial bias in the human services sector can help highlight shortcomings and opportunities during your next evaluation.
Routine evaluations also benefit clients by improving the attention they receive. For instance, your organization could encourage regular client check-ins or implement more frequent case evaluations by leadership. Clients' needs can change due to countless factors, so your management model should be prepared to adapt based on your findings.
5. Maintain Accurate and Secure Records
Keeping clients' information organized and secure isn't important just for legality, but it also improves your productivity. A thoroughly organized system will keep your data accessible and comprehensible. This way, whether a case manager is taking in a new client or double-checking an old client's records, they can quickly access what they need in real time.
Organization can also alleviate workplace stress by removing clutter. Thus, you can improve your engagement, your mental health, and the level of care clients receive. Additionally, online case management storage lets social workers complete tasks outside of the office, creating opportunities for hybrid work.
6. Maintain Clear Communication Between Clients and Teams
A clear and easily accessible line of communication goes a long way toward improving the care clients receive. A misplaced email, forgotten phone call, or outdated number can lead to missed appointments and setbacks regarding care goals.
Many organizations use case management software to provide consistent communication. Most messaging systems let clients choose their preferred method of contact, such as call, email, or text, to ensure you can always reach them in the most convenient way.
Additionally, by messaging through the management app, you can later review all your client communications in one place. This saves you from the hassle of using search filters in your email and text message inboxes.
7. Empower Clients and Advocate for Their Rights
Client empowerment is about providing clients with a level of care that improves their quality of life. As such, the client's care goals should be primarily based on their personal aspirations and strengths. Including clients in the decision-making process will help you personalize their plan of care and help them understand their next steps.
This level of empowerment can improve your clients' engagement, confidence, and independence. Including clients in the process also makes it easier to identify when their needs go unmet. In doing so, you'll be able to advocate for clients more effectively and defend their case.
8. Balance Clients' Needs and Professional Standards
In human services, the line between clients' needs and what's actually possible always feels blurred. Therefore, it's essential to keep your care goals balanced and realistic based on each case.
Frequent meetings about industry shifts and changing practices are a beneficial way to maintain a reliable balance. This way, you and your team stay aware of new case management models, restrictions, and focuses as they develop. By staying on top of changing procedures, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and data storage protocols, you can reduce the amount of work that has to be redone and keep the focus on the client.
9. Embrace Technological Advancements
Love it or hate it, technology is now one of the core components of social work. Today, most organizations use at least some sort of software to organize their client lists, data, and communications. While adapting to specific programs is often challenging, technology can significantly improve your workflow because it's almost always improving itself.
Case management software developers often release new updates and features for simplified access, organization, and usability. Staying on top of these updates and understanding your software's full capabilities can help you fully utilize it and improve your efficiency across the board. For instance, Casebook's comprehensive records system may complete administrative tasks that you didn't even realize you could skip.
10. Use Analytics to Inform Your Strategies
Case management software compiles, analyzes, and cleanly presents information for you, saving you multiple steps in the case management process. This simplified information makes developing strategies and management plans easier by letting you focus entirely on the data.
Analytics can significantly improve your assessments and goal-planning, but you shouldn't solely rely on them. Instead, you should consider what the analytics have to say and use that to determine the rest of your plan. Combining analytics with your own case management expertise enables you to provide a better standard of care comprising all applicable resources.
Leverage Case Management Software for Effective Case Management
Implementing these case management best practices helps you and your team give clients the standard of care they deserve. For instance, case management software lets you skip some administrative tasks so you can instead focus directly on clients' issues. Plus, by encouraging more active listening and learning, you can ensure your organization stays ahead of all the changes in the industry.