Case managers coordinate with local, state, and federal medical, legal, and social agencies to provide necessary and recommended social services care. Case managers conduct the assessment, evaluation, facilitation, advocacy, and identification of services and resources clients require to receive optimal care. They also identify appropriate providers and ensure resources are timely and cost-effective. If you find happiness by helping others, case management might be the right career path.
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Job Duties of a Case Manager
The job duties of a case manager vary depending on the field they are employed in. For example, the services provided by a clinical case manager working in a hospital setting are different from the services offered by a social work case manager working for an insurance company.
Some of the typical job duties of a social work case manager include:
Evaluating the efficacy of a treatment plan recommended by industry professionals for a person or family. For instance, case managers might have to determine whether or not the recommended treatment or assistance approaches for a young man in the Foster Care system and suffering from depression are beneficial to him.
Collaborating with other social workers, doctors, nutritionists, rehabilitation centers, and advisors to create and define an individualized recovery plan for a client.
Maintaining timely and complete digital and physical records of all patient interactions and interventions in electronic charting systems.
Conducting home visits and facilitating ongoing assessment of patient and family needs. This often includes overseeing necessary implementation, such as ensuring clients are receiving psychological counseling or at-home care.
Taking ownership of existing and new cases, including managing information portfolios.
Evaluating budgetary constraints.
Communicating with legal aid providers, social service agencies, or local court services to advocate for your client’s rights.
Helping clients achieve desired objectives such as finding foster parents, researching possible new homes, or helping them research educational options.
Using an adaptive communication style and practicing empathy to build trust and rapport with clients.
Listening to client concerns and asking open-ended questions to understand them better.
Maintaining complete confidentiality of a client’s case.
Managing all logistics of abuse and neglect cases from beginning to end.
Conducting meetings with co-workers, clients, or care providers to discuss cases.
Handling case files of multiple clients by incorporating case management principles.
Case Manager Median Salaries
According to PayScale, an American compensation software and data company, the average hourly pay for a case manager is $17.96.
Top Skills for Case Managers
- Knowing the care management process: Case managers should be adept in all care management processes. Some of them include the following:
- Intake and referral: Intake is the process of communicating with a client requesting services or with family members via phone calls or personal visits to gather preliminary information. You have to collect basic information like name, address, and other credentials and specific details such as any previous diagnoses and types of care they have received. Based on this information, case managers identify and refer the client to services.
- Needs assessment: The case manager should possess vital needs assessment skills and knowledge of various facilities or resource providers to help clients connect with the right services and recommend appropriate referrals.
- Care planning: You have to develop a comprehensive plan for the client by considering their issues and requirements. Care planning also involves developing proper treatment or intervention plans.
- Monitoring and follow-up: Case managers should monitor the status of current interventions to ensure clients are receiving the suggested care. You have to help make necessary modifications in the care plan as needed.
- Proficiency in case management software: Numerous digital software solutions are available for case managers, such as Kissflow and Plan Street’s case management software, allowing you to make real-time updates and analyses. Essential telecommunication, video conferencing tools, or platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Cisco Webex are also necessary to communicate with clients effectively. Knowing all the crucial features of virtual communication, such as screen sharing and chat messaging, can assist in care coordination and provide good care.
- Personal passion and responsibility: Though case managers are not responsible for providing services, they must manage the services administered to a client. This means, at times, being responsible for cultural sensitivity going the extra mile in, for example, mental health services provided to a homeless person, and remaining enthusiastic about helping clients receive the benefits they deserve.
- Excellent record-keeping: Documenting all case management activities in paper or electronic formats is a vital part of the job. All documentation is maintained clearly in a structured and understandable layout. To know more about recording keeping principles, professionals can refer to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) standards for Social Work Case Management.
As per the NASW, the purpose of a medical record is to “provide a vehicle for: documenting actions taken inpatient management; documenting patient progress; providing meaningful medical information to other practitioners should the patient transfer to a new provider or should the provider be unavailable for some reason.”
The NASW Insurance Trust strongly recommends retaining clinical records “indefinitely.”
- An amicable attitude: Since case managers serve as both advocates and mediators, they must have a friendly demeanor to build lasting trust and rapport with clients, including the most challenging ones. It is the responsibility of a case manager to make clients feel comfortable in discussing their concerns openly. Case managers should never display rude behavior towards the people they work with and consistently demonstrate respect and empathy.
Demonstrate respect by maintaining a patient demeanor and having an approachable or kind attitude. Case managers should also be culturally sensitive and use adaptive communication styles with the utmost respect for clients from diverse backgrounds.
- Active listening and reflection: Case managers should always listen with the intent to understand. Without actively listening and reflection skills, case managers will not make the right decisions for a client. For example, case managers should allow the patient to talk and express their concerns openly when conducting meetings and discussions with the client rather than filling in moments of silence with questions or comments. Active listening also allows case managers to summarize discussion pointers and facts without missing any essential information. Convey active listening through positive body language, eye contact, and gestures such as nodding thoughtfully.
- Advocacy skills: Case managers should have strong advocacy skills to help both clients and health care agencies and their providers achieve desired objectives. Case managers should display confidence while representing a client’s requirements and possess the ability to influence decisions. Competence in analytical skills and problem-solving is vital for case managers to advocate on the clients’ behalf. They should also always be well-prepared with clinical evidence and cost requirements when advocating for clients in front of stakeholders. Securing funding to help clients is also a big part of this advocacy, as is
Educational Requirements for Case Managers
DegreeAlthough it is possible to start a career as a case manager with a high school diploma, most employers prefer professionals with higher degrees such as a bachelor’s or master’s.
The professions of case management and social work often have overlapping duties. However, all case managers are not social workers. In addition, each has different educational and certification requirements.
Nevertheless, interested individuals with a bachelor’s in social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or in an undergraduate program in a related field such as nursing, psychology, or counseling equips students with the necessary knowledge, values, and competency to become case managers. Case managers do not provide therapy, unlike social workers, and do not have licensing requirements; instead, they are required to be certificated by local, state, and national bodies.
Numerous universities and colleges renowned for social work, such as Boston College, Alabama State University, Chicago State University, offer degree programs online, in-person, or part-time.
- Member Associations:The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) offers the Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM) certification. To pursue this credential, one must have a bachelor's degree in social work accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.
Individuals can also consider the Accredited Case Manager (ACM) certification offered by the American Case Management Association (ACMA).
Other than these core certification options, there are various other associations and organizations that offer certifications, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which offers Nursing Case Management Certification. According to Deanna Cooper Gillingham, RN, CCM, ANCC cert applicants must hold “a current, active RN license within a state or territory of the United States or the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country to be eligible to sit for the exam.” The National Association of Social Workers also offers a Certified Social Work Case Manager Certification.
- Industry Connected Non-Profit Organizations:To enhance their professional growth and improve employment options, case managers can consider opting for Certified Case Manager administered by the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). This certification is considered extremely valuable by employers because it’s the oldest and most recognizable certification. The industry considers the best program for “workforce readiness” due to its focus on patient care.
To upgrade your field with behavioral health and case management conglomeration, you can also pursue Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager Certification from your state, such as The Florida Certification Board in the above link.
Case Manager Resume-Writing Tips
- Write a comprehensive and compelling career summary or career objective. Writing a comprehensive and compelling career summary or objective is the best approach to give the reader a detailed understanding of your case management career and experience so far. In addition, the career summary should paint a positive picture of you as a worthy candidate. Write a career objective if you have minimal experience and use keywords from the job description.
- List the name of case management software you know how to use. Though most employers expect case managers to have substantial documentation and record-keeping skills, including the name of the latest case management software can serve as an advantage. Mention names of case management software such as Kissflow and Plan Street’s case management software under your technical skill section. This will indicate your digital competency.
- Match your resume with the job description. When writing your resume, make sure to refer to the specific job description and highlight any relevant qualifications, awards, or certifications that match the recruiter’s requirements. This also ensures your resume will pass the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). In addition, include keywords from the job description across various sections such as “Skills,” “Experience,” and “Career Summary.”
Why are clinical case managers essential in today’s world?
Given how the world today has an aging population suffering from chronic disease, a more significant number of individuals require health care services that go beyond a single event or episode. Case managers provide holistic, patient-centered services to their clients by consistently providing desirable care and assistance.
What’s the difference between a social worker and a case manager?
The biggest difference is that social workers tend to focus on improving the specific personal issues of a client where a case manager focuses on managing and providing their clients with the people who can provide those assistive services, including with social workers. For example, social workers actually provide counseling services, including to homeless and foster children, whereas case managers find people to provide that counseling (and then follow-up to make sure the services provided are good and helping people like they’re supposed to).