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Understanding What Your Case Manager Does

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Updated April 09, 2014

What Is a Case Manager - Overview:

If you are undergoing treatment for a phobia, your case manager can be an invaluable member of your treatment team. You might see numerous mental health professionals, and the case manager can serve as a link between them. Here is an overview of what to expect from your case manager.

Education and Training:

Case managers generally hold a BA or MA degree in social work or mental health counseling. Some facilities, particularly those with a medical model focus, prefer to hire psychiatric RNs. Students who have not yet completed a degree sometimes work under close supervision.

Most case managers also have a great deal of on-the-job training. Case managers serve as resource coordinators, so they must be familiar with local social services.

Certification by exam is an option for case managers, but many facilities do not require certification. Some case managers are also licensed social workers or therapists.

Approach:

A case manager is primarily in charge of coordinating needed services. At larger mental health facilities, each client may be automatically assigned to a case manager. In smaller locales, clients may be assigned case managers only as needed.

In addition to connecting you to community resources, your case manager can serve as a link between various mental health professionals. He or she can help you monitor your medication reactions between psychiatrist appointments, help you problem-solve day to day issues between therapy visits, or simply help you keep track of a calendar full of appointments.

Specializations:

Some case managers specialize in a specific client population, such as those with addictions or physical disabilities. Others work exclusively in the criminal justice system, community mental health, or hospital settings.

A case manager’s ultimate goal is connecting the client with whatever services may be required. Examples include financial resources such as unemployment benefits, medical services such as Medicaid, and community resources such as support groups. Therefore, case managers tend to be flexible and creative in their approach.

Some case managers are extremely proactive, referring clients for evaluation for an exhaustive list of resources. Others are more laid-back, preferring to focus their energy and the client’s time on those programs for which he is likely to qualify.

Source:

Social Workers: Help Starts Here. Caregiving Tip Sheet - Questions and Answers About Case Management. Retrieved April 21, 2009 from http://www.helpstartshere.org/Default.aspx?PageID=1275#training

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