The three key components of case management are linking, monitoring, and coordinating services for their clients. One of the primary reasons people seek case management is to be linked to resources. The linking process is similar to service coordination. However, linking is a little less involved for the case manager. Linking involves the process of getting the resource to the client. The case manager serves as the liaison between the resource and the client. In many cases, this is all the assistance that is needed. In other cases, the case manager may have to walk the client through more steps. At that point, it becomes more of a service coordination process. The two primary methods case managers use to link people to services are through referrals and sharing resources.
The referral process is the primary and most time consuming form of linking. The referral can be as simple as a phone call to check for openings or as complex as completing and submitting a referral for a client. Referrals can also be a simple word of mouth suggestion to help the client get what they need. I’ve always suggested that case managers are some of the most important people in the healthcare system because they serve as the “middle man”; ensuring people are linked to the services they need. Case managers are also important to service providers for obvious reasons. Case managers are a key referral source for some of the following service providers:
Day Support Programs
Case managers often have access to a variety of community resources. Information on community resources and programs usually reach the case managers before they reach the general population. New regulations and proposed changes to services are often not realized by the consumer until it’s already too late. It’s important to share this information with clients and their families. Email is starting to become the preferred method of receiving information. Email is a great way to provide information and resources quickly.
Some of the information that can be quickly shared includes:
Public Information Forums
Linkage is a subtle but important aspect of case management services. Clients and their families often rely on case managers to point them in the right direction and provide vital information. Linkage is the first step to ensuring that people get the services they need. If linkage is all that is needed, case managers and then monitor services put in place. If more assistance is needed, case managers then transition to the coordination phase and provide more assistance as needed.