While in treatment, in addition to an individual therapist, often a client will be assigned a case manager. On some occasions, the therapist will also be a client’s case manager, however, these are two different functions and sessions. A case manager is in an advocate position- they assist people on getting personal needs taken care of that are challenging at transitionary phases, or during the client’s stay in residential treatment through IOP and after.
In the substance addictions field, case management has become popular and is most likely available in some form at all treatment centers. If the treatment facility does not have a specific Case Manager, an individual counselor on staff member may also be a designated case manager.
What are the responsibilities and duties of a Case Manager?
Many case managers have a background in social work, which differs from MFT’s (see Marriage and Family Therapy) but it is not necessary to have a license in social work to be a qualified case manager.
Case managers help a variety of people and demographics and have a general understanding of systems and how they apply to individuals. They will also know how to specifically navigate through complicated systems to help the client achieve their goals. Many Case Managers work with the homeless population, mentally ill or dual-diagnosed clients, families needing care, people suffering from addiction, US Veterans, ex-convicts, medical patients, and the elderly.
Qualified case managers will understand the available resources for every client, and be able to assist in directing them to referrals. They may also help with prioritization and accessibility. Case managers can be an integral part in transitions and help with family and support groups for the client.
It is common, if not always, that a Case Manager in a treatment facility is part of or will report to the Clinical Team. Their duties and responsibilities include:
- Accepting new cases assigned to them by the Clinical Director after the client has a proper diagnosis and complete biopsychosocial assessment.
- Completes a case management assessment in the first 72 hours of admission if the client is appropriately functioning.
- Creates a plan with the client to determine a needs assessment, identifying strategies to address issues.
- Provides continuous support with the challenges, needs, and assessment plan, being flexible in nature with the client and the treatment facility.
- Meets with the client at least once a week to review and assess the prioritized goals created in the initial plan, and making adjustments as needed.
- Understanding realistic expectations.
- Makes necessary notation and documentation.
- Works with a client in all transitionary phases of treatment.
- Communicates information in a timely and efficient manner tot the treatment team when necessary.
- Makes any improvements or suggests policy changes within and without the company to ensure proper services are done.
- Seeks supervisory consultation when needed.
- May consult with physicians and psychiatrists regarding scheduling, certain goals met and other non-therapeutic information which would be pertinent to the client’s welfare.
- Adheres to all company policy and procedures, including maintaining confidentiality.
Outside of substance abuse treatment centers, Case Managers will help clients needing medication, medical appointments, vocational rehabilitation, housing placement, and social services. Case Managers may have different styles of assistance, but all are required to do the following for effective management:
- Assessing each client and their needs. Case Managers will commonly do an intake form that will look at a variety of factors while asking questions of the client. This will determine the client’s strengths, challenges and obstacles, treatment plan, and immediate needs. The assessment comes in form of understanding the initial intake form, speaking with the therapist, and most importantly meeting with the client. The client will be able to let the case manager know where the immediate stressors are in the life and what they need while in treatment. The Case Managers will help prioritize those needs. Often the client has anxieties which can be diminished with the help of the Case Manager meeting with them.
- Determining Resources. The Case Manager, after gathering and collecting information from the client will then begin to contact the appropriate agencies and community organizations where they may be able to refer the client to.
- Creating a comprehensive plan. The Case Manager’s primary focus is to help the client become self-sufficient and able to find the available resources on their own. This takes planning alongside the client to determine how and if they are capable of doing so. Learning disabilities, mental illness, and other factors may impede the client from being completely independent. However, in most cases of seeing clients at treatment facilities for substance abuse, clients will be self-directed after a few sessions with the social worker. They can apply for financial assistance programs, contact insurance companies, apply for housing, enroll in school, and take care of legal issues.
- Benefit eligibility. Case Managers have a good understanding of forms, both online and paperwork for the application of benefits and programs. This can often be overwhelming to the addict in recovery and the Case Manager will sit with you and walk you through the questions on the forms.
- Evaluation of client progression. A Case Manager has a duty to determine how the client is progressing through their initial plan and make adjustments accordingly. Evaluations of progress are most likely to be shared with the treatment team after a session with the Case Manager and client for necessary input. Case Managers will also be able to advocate for their clients’ needs at treatment team meetings if the team is unaware of certain challenges. For instance, a Case Manager may know the reason why there is resistance to attending group therapy if the client is hyper-focusing on getting housing once completing the program.
- The Case Manager will keep notes on the progress of treatment for the client’s benefit in tracking needed steps to continue with and to show how the effectiveness of the plan has been implemented. It is necessary for all notes of contact between people, organizations, and conversations were in order to track goals correctly. The Case Manager may rely on the client to provide them with ongoing information towards the goals and objectives.
When Is a Case Manager Utilized in Treatment?
During a client’s stay at residential treatment, they will start work with a Case Manager upon admission or during detox. If the client is too ill to report to the manager their needs, the Case Manager will assess if there are any immediate needs to be met, such as legal filings or medical necessities. The Case Manager will establish a relationship with the client and act as a continuum throughout the phases of treatment, including transitioning to sober living if necessary. Transportation issues, going over medications, and finding outside support groups, such as providing a 12-Step meeting guide, are things that the Case Manager will assist a client with addressing.
Case Managers are adept in working with the addictions population and can help adolescents, young adults, older adults and seniors who are experiencing a drug or alcohol problem. They are accustomed to people who have over-dosed, relapsed, and are first time admissions. Single or poly-drug users are seen by Case Managers, as well as those who are diagnosed with chronic illnesses and co-occurring disorders or behavioral issues prevalent for substance users.
Why is Case Management so Effective in Treatment?
Clients may find that during treatment, they can receive an abundance of information and become overwhelmed or overstimulated, unable to prioritize needs by themselves or focus enough to stay on track. Having a Case Manager is like a point person for the client to refer to for the organization of personal needs. They reduce anxiety for clients by providing answers to external life stressors which may impede the healing and wellness process during treatment. They can properly and consistently identify available resources for the client, cutting the search time down which often leads to stagnation over the frustration that searching for the necessary help involves. The Case Manager has a compiled list and resource book that they can draw from in one place, saving the client time and reducing stress.
Do Case Managers do Everything for the Client in Treatment?
The answer is no. Case Managers are assisting the client to identify and obtain their needs. The main focus of Case Management is to create a client-centered task. Outcomes may include confidence, new skills, and a sense of accomplishment for the client so they can become self-sufficient in these areas in the future. The Case Manager will help the client identify resources after the plan has been established, and the client will take the lead on whether there will be follow through with self-determination. In other words, the Case Manager doesn’t “make” a client do anything, nor will they do the entire task for them, but will assist them through the process. This is especially beneficial when people are in recovery, for it builds the necessary skills needed for continued self -care, and does not enable, but empowers.
By having a client-centered model, the addict will be able to identify the causal effects of drug and alcohol addiction by understanding some of the wreckage of their past, thus helping with the prevention of relapse. Going through social, medical, and legal systems by identifying, locating, and obtaining resources needed can be a learning opportunity for the client and important for growth.
Case Managers are Advocates
While a client is in treatment and is working alongside Case Managers for individual goals, the client may find it difficult dealing with certain agencies to obtain certain needs. A Case Manager can be instrumental in advocating on the client’s behalf and are able to navigate systems which can be convoluted, contradictory, and who come across blocks for services. Case Managers understand law and ethics, are educated in the field of substance abuse and are often able to communicate effectively with services and agencies in order for the client to gain access to them or receive continued care.
Case Management is not Therapy
Though case management is not therapy, there can be a therapeutic outcome. A Case Manager will help with pragmatic and practical needs of the client, determined by the client. These needs are most often found in areas of housing, food, employment, transportation, children, clothing, and legal issues. While in treatment, the Case Manager will work alongside the client to ensure that basic needs are sought out by the client to transition effectively.
The Case Manager will not engage in a therapeutic intervention during sessions, but the client may find that obtaining their individual needs becomes therapeutic on its own.
Case Managers are skilled at being able to foresee issues that addicts may not originally, and be able to remind or guide them to understanding, For instance, a person at a residential treatment center may not have proper housing and hasn’t thought about where they will be going after treatment. In addition, how they will obtain money for food and clothing. The Case Manager knows that in order to receive services from community assistance programs, the client must start the application process as soon as possible, to ensure acceptance.
Case Manager Skills
All professional Case Managers who work with substance abusers will have specific knowledge, skills, and beliefs, which focus on the provision of people in treatment. Case Managers are interested in the client’s they serve and have a personality that can develop a quick rapport, establish trust while maintaining healthy boundaries in a professional setting. They understand stages of change, complexities of addiction, are adept at finding services, and are patient. They:
- Understand a variety of addiction theories and models.
- Understand policies and practices which support treatment models which focus on the outcomes of recovery.
- Are aware of how to assist with relapse prevention and continued care for the addict.
- Know the importance of community services.
- Understand the importance of family and support systems.
- Have a broad knowledge of diversity.
- Are comfortable advocating.
- Have a unique skill set which works interdisciplinary in nature.
Solution-Focused Case Management
Our team of problem solvers adeptly remove your stress by addressing your to do list of legal, financial, and life responsibilities so you can focus your attention on health and wellness. By relieving yourself of the challenges of the outside world you will be more relaxed and present as you enjoy your stay in our treatment program. Our staff understands that when we come to treatment, there may be a world of issues and concerns that lay outside the realm of the substance abuse and addiction in and of itself. For this reason, we are accustomed to and prepared to address and deal with other collateral problems facing one in recovery. Our goal always has been, and always will be, to attend to our clients’ holistic needs. Studies show, again and again, that substance abuse is not a single-facet issue; it tends to be multi-pronged, and we embrace this challenge together – head-on.