Case managers deal with numerous personal events in people's lives, ensuring these individuals receive the proper care and professional assistance they need. Given the wide range of personalities involved and the complexities of each scenario, managers must create clear, measurable objectives for each case -- known as service plans. In sometimes highly charged and emotional situations, they then can measure the results objectively.
Figure Out What's Going On
Prior to laying out the groundwork for what you'd determine as reasonable goals for the case, you need to find out the details. You'll need to dig into these people's personal lives, to the extent they'll let you, while you find out exactly what they need from you. Prepare a questionnaire that lets the client tell her story. You're looking for details of her immediate situation, while taking into account other potentially important things like her socioeconomic, psychological and physical state. Realize that this is an ongoing process, as people change and circumstances influence them.
Set Out Your Plans
Once you have the initial set of facts in hand, start putting together a series of short-term goals. Don't draw these up on your own, however. Determine each set of goals with the client, with each goal measured by one to three clear objectives. Meeting these objectives can range from one week to one year, depending on the complexity of the issue. Each situation is different. This helps the client sort her thoughts and emotions into clearly defined parameters, often providing a sense of relief as she sees the goals in front of her. Of course, you'll guide her in defining and shaping these goals into measures designed to help her long term rather than just provide a bandage for an immediate issue.
Get Help from Others
As a case worker, you'll never work alone. Part of the execution of your goals takes place with other professionals in mental and physical health. Long-term assistance planning comes into play here, as rehab for various ailments can take years to resolve. You'll also come up with contingencies in situations where a case goes sideways and requires crisis intervention. Although you're taking your client's input into consideration during these secondary steps, your education and experience as a professional ultimately guide you in making these determinations -- with the assistance of your professional colleagues.
Evaluate Your Results
You'll regularly monitor your client's progress in meeting her objectives. Have her maintain a diary of ways she's keeping track of the causes of some of her behavior. You'll use this information to draw clear parallels among the problem, goals and objectives used to resolve the issues in the client's life. Modify these goals and objectives slightly as needed, keeping in mind the client's health rather than ease of meeting the objectives.
David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.