According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 682,000 case managers and social workers in the United States alone. The amount of social workers is projected to increase by up to 15% over the next 10 years as needs arise in the social services space. This shows us that there is only going to be more of a need for data-driven nonprofit organizations to support the growing number of social workers.
Along with organizations needing to be data-driven, these statistics show how critical case management is to the work being done by nonprofit and government organizations and to the larger communities in which they work.
Actually defining case management, however, can be difficult because there is no single recognized definition. A quick search on case management best practices can lead to numerous resources, which while helpful, can be overwhelming, particularly for organizations that are just starting their case management journey or are working with old processes and procedures. So, what does case management mean to us and what can it mean for your nonprofit?
There are four key components within this definition that make up successful case management: Intake, Needs Assessment, Service Planning, and Monitoring and Evaluation. Human service organizations of all sizes require the correct implementation of each of these four components in order to ensure client success.
Let’s go into why these four components are so essential to case management.
- Intake: Intake is the initial meeting between a case manager and a new client. The case manager uses this time to gather demographic information about the client, identify any immediate needs and begin to establish trust and build a relationship. This first interaction is helpful for a case manager to determine if a client would benefit from the services your organization offers. If they would, they then move on to assessing the client’s individual needs. If their needs fall outside your organization, the case manager works to identify and refer the client to an outside community resource.
- Needs Assessment: The Needs Assessment stage builds on the information collected during the Intake stage, going into greater depth on the client’s individual challenges and goals. During this stage, a case manager’s primary objective is to identify a client’s problems, interests and risks to success. While every client goes through this stage when they first come to an organization, it’s important to re-assess over time as needs and circumstances often change.
- Service Planning: The Service Planning stage is particularly important to the success or failure of a client. A case manager establishes specific goals and the actions that will be taken to meet those goals. The result of this goal-setting process is a case plan inclusive of outputs and outcomes that will measure a client’s success. A service plan should be both achievable and measurable.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: Evaluation is critical to understanding the impact specific programs and services have on a client. Using the output and outcome metrics defined in the previous stages, a case manager should continuously monitor and evaluate a client’s progress. Evaluation and data ensure client success is quantified and qualified rather than simply anecdotal.
So, if each of these components plays such a crucial part in case management, how do we successfully implement them so we can ensure the success of entire communities? And after we implement, how do we support this case management process?
That’s where Apricot comes in. Apricot is a comprehensive case management system built on the core components of case management. Best practices focused on each of the four components are built right into your Apricot system, so you can start collecting data and measuring progress right away.
- Intake: As new clients walk through the door, seamlessly add them to your Apricot system, ensuring you collect all the information you need to create a full client profile.
- Needs Assessment: Benefit from our many evidence-based forms or create your own assessment tools to gauge client needs and accurately assign services.
- Service Planning: Keep client information and case plans organized based on the programs and services a client has been assigned. As your client’s needs change, easily update their records.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: With built-in forms and reports, measure and manage client success with the push of a button. Continuously monitor results to achieve long-term outcomes.
Take advantage of case management best practices built on thousands of implementations of organizations just like yours today. See Apricot in Action!