The face to face contact is one of the most critical aspects of monitoring services. In most states, case managers are required to make a face to face contact with their clients a minimum of once every 90 days. In some situations, case managers may make face to face contact on a monthly basis or other frequency. This largely depends on the type of case management services that are in place (i.e. foster care, medical, etc.). The face to face contact is particularly important when clients reside in group homes and other care facilities. The face to face contact allows the case manager to directly see that clients are living and being served in a clean, safe environment. I review a few things that case managers look for when conducting group home visits.
Monitor Health and Safety
Client’s physical appearance- Case managers should pay close attention to any changes in physical appearance. Look for any obvious scratches, bruises or signs of illness. You also want to look for signs that basic hygiene issues are addressed such as clean clothes, groomed hair, etc.
Condition of the home- Case Managers also examine the overall condition of the home. This would include the overall cleanliness and any safety hazards that staff may not recognize. Some case managers even go so far as to check the refrigerator to see if there is adequate food in the home. I would say that this would happen on rare occasions and if there was a specific concern in this area.
Condition of the bedroom- Many of the people we support need help with maintaining their living areas. Occasionally residents will also have issues with hoarding items such as food, trash, and other random objects that may present a safety hazard.
Monitor interactions with peers and staff- Case managers also try to monitor how well the client is getting along with other residents and interactions with staff. This also gives the case manager a sense of how staff manages the home and well they multi-task while serving clients with different levels of need.
Conversation with the resident
Part of the group home visit should include a conversation with the resident. The home should have an area where the resident can speak with the case manager privately. This gives the resident an opportunity to express any complaints or concerns in a more comfortable setting away from support staff.
Conversations with staff
Case managers often spend a good amount of time talking with support staff. This is often the case when the resident is non-verbal or unable to communicate. Case managers inquire about a number issues related to services:
*Recent illnesses or hospitalizations
*Changes in medications
*Recent and upcoming medical appointments
*Discuss any behavioral issues
*Discuss any changes or progress in goal/objectives
Part of the group home visit should also include a review of relevant documentation. Case managers often review behavior logs, medication administration records (MAR), and progress notes as needed.