Nonprofit case management isn’t about data or a specific set of tasks. It’s about developing client relationships, and building a plan to make a difference.
Each nonprofit organization makes critical decisions about what case management models work best for their clients’ benefit. For some clients, case management is as simple as building a plan and letting the client take it and work it independently. For others, the client could benefit from a more hands-on approach with regular assistance, accountability, and evaluation. No “one size fits all” exists in the nonprofit service world.
Determining how to best serve a client starts with data. When nonprofit organizations undergo the process of onboarding a new client, they ask for lots of information because their clients might qualify for different programs depending on their needs and eligibility. Clients aren’t automatically approved for every program, because not every program fits them. Instead, case managers work to create a plan to help each client individually and ensure their success. The plans nonprofits formulate and the way they work with clients tend to fall under unique case management models.
Which case management model fits best? Each organization and its staff will need to discover this for themselves.
It’s not always easy to tell which of the case management models is best for clients. Each nonprofit organization and its workers should analyze the services they provide and determine what approaches would be most beneficial for assisting their clients. They may need to experiment with different case management models—adapting them as needed—to determine which ones could best administer the services they provide. Some models are definitely built with certain types of nonprofit programs and organizations in mind. But as long as the organization can discover how to administer its programs effectively and use a particular model to its advantage, it will be able to guide its clients along a path to positive outcomes.
There are three main umbrella case management models for nonprofits, and seven total sub-models under them. It’s important for each organization to consider them and determine how each one could impact its clients’ overall well-being.
The Evidence-Based Practice Model
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the evidence-based practice model combines well-researched interventions with clinical experience and external factors to guide their decision-making.
Evidence-based practice model care plans must be tailor-made to an individual client’s unique situation, culture, interests, and strengths to ensure optimal results. Continual education is also key to performing evidence-based social work and case management. Social workers must have a strong focus on continuous education to meet NASW standards.
The Standard Community Care Model
If there was a “traditional” case management model that a nonprofit organization could follow, this is it. This fairly straightforward plan can be used for many different programs and services. In this approach, a designated case manager builds a plan for a client that includes whatever programs or services they qualify for and allows the client to work through it at their own pace. The work for this model is mostly office-based, with the case manager serving as a coordinator of services and checking in on the client’s progress. In some scenarios within this model, the case manager is a clinician whose job it is to schedule interventive care such as varying forms of therapy. Two main sub-models exist within this model:
- Brokerage Case Management: A case manager primarily assesses and organizes a client’s care needs and makes sure they get the resources they need.
- Clinical Case Management: Case managers, who are often clinicians in this model, provide more direct services and get more involved with the client’s journey. They help their clients engage with others and build skills through interventionist-style learning and therapy.
Intensive Comprehensive Care Model
One of the hands-on case management models that rely on a more in-depth approach to the programs and services that nonprofits offer, and for good reason. Many clients who receive support under this model need extra assistance, and it’s the case manager’s job not just to coordinate their aid, but also to walk alongside them as a guide or partner. A client may have a harder time working the plan without accountability and the encouragement of someone “showing them the ropes.”
Clients who may benefit from this approach often come from more vulnerable populations and traumatic backgrounds (i.e. domestic violence, homelessness, mental health disorders, and veteran status) and may need help with rebuilding themselves as whole people along with rebuilding their way of life. As the name of this model suggests, programs developed and worked in this way are also intended to provide a significant amount of quality care over a short period of time. They are intended to help someone get back on their feet while also ensuring that they’re ready to face whatever next steps are ahead of them. Three main sub-models exist within this model:
- Assertive Community Treatment: This model uses small, shared case loads and multi-disciplinary team approaches in the comfort of a client’s daily environment over an unlimited period of time to help them accomplish their goals.
- Intensive Care Management: This model is similar to the Assertive Community Treatment Model except for the fact that case loads are usually held by one case manager and not a team.
- Critical Time Intervention: This service delivery model is administered over a set time period and is primarily used to help individuals move from residential care to community care.
Rehabilitation-Oriented Community Care Model
This overarching model contains a mixture of both of the previous models’ methods. It can be intensive in structure and timing, but it can also be more in-depth and long-term, depending on the strengths, challenges, and goals of the client. Programs are built to aid the client individually, but they also encourage the client to collaborate with others and build community. Clients receive assistance that helps them discover ways to make the most of their advantages and resources. Eventually, they may feel more empowered to take greater ownership of the program they’re working through, and move at their own pace with less support. Two main sub-models exist within this model:
- Strengths-Based Model: Rather than focusing on improving upon a client’s weaknesses, this model focuses on their strengths and passions and lets them guide themselves and grow in confidence of their own abilities.
- Rehabilitation Model: Similar to the Strengths model, this model also focuses on building life skills based around the client’s goals
The CaseWorthy Advantage
CaseWorthy is built to work with any and all of these case management models. Because it’s a case management software that’s designed to move and flex along with the needs of clients and case workers, it can accommodate the use of virtually any program or plan. Planning meetings and program sessions, recording information, and staying in contact with clients is easy through CaseWorthy’s flexible case management software. Also, automation makes each part of the process more efficient, such that the client experience can be as positive and uplifting as possible. Furthermore, our team has real-life background in case management and understands many of the needs and challenges that case workers experience. We’re here to help you determine how our software can best serve you.