Strengths-Based Case Management Model

Strengths-based case management is a specific form of the Rehabilitation-Oriented case model that identifies the client’s strengths and goals and works to build habits and facilitate recovery. It’s based on the idea that for some clients, the traditional Rehabilitation model doesn’t focus enough on the client’s skills, talents, and other positive characteristics or behaviors when planning for their success. This model is most often applied to residential rehabilitation programs, but can be applied to outpatient and community-based programs, too. By focusing on these factors as a way to encourage and motivate the client, case managers who use this model can help their clients overcome challenges and get to a better state of wellness and independence.


Helping Clients Identify Their Strengths

Case managers who use the Strengths-Based approach to case management take extensive time to work with clients and assess their advantages and goals. Case managers act as coordinators of care, but also do much more. In this case management model, they work with clients to discover how they can leverage skills that they already possess to aid their recovery. For instance, if a client has a talent for a particular activity that requires a lot of mechanical skill, and the trauma they experienced requires them to relearn basic motor functions, the case manager can have the client rebuild bodily function by having the client relearn that skill. Or, if the client wants to return to work and has a specific skill set that will help them find a job, they can begin training for that job again, starting with basic tasks.


One major element that sets this model apart from others is the belief that case managers don’t always know exactly what’s best for the client. In some cases, coming alongside the client to help them discover how they can use what they already know helps the process of rehabilitation go much more smoothly. It also helps build a strong, positive foundation for a unique recovery plan.

Identifying a client’s strengths can include building upon past successes, assessing skills and turning them into advantages for recovery, and using community resources, support, and family ties to help a client achieve their recovery goals. After all, this is a plan based around the goals of the client and what they’re good at. Even though the work is facilitated by a case manager, this is an opportunity for the client to have a certain level of independence in their rehabilitation from day one.

Helping the Client Take Charge

The Strengths-Based model takes into account the fact that if clients are to be successful long-term, they need to learn to become independent and self-sufficient. This means they need to learn about themselves and be encouraged to walk their unique path through life. Case managers work with clients to help them discover their advantages so the client can feel empowered to build their own structure and livelihood.

This type of case management may involve extensive networking and team-building on the part of the case manager. As a coordinator and perhaps also a provider of rehab services, the case manager can help the client continue to gain independence by introducing them to other resources that they may not have had access to before. This can help the client come to realize that they have more support than they thought, which can also help them gain confidence in achieving their recovery goals.

Case managers work with clients to help them discover their advantages so the client can feel empowered to build their own structure and livelihood.

Since this type of program often takes place in a residential setting (though it may also be used in an outpatient setting), the client may not be completely rehabilitated at the end of a program like this. They may be sent home or to a halfway house to continue working their program, perhaps with the assistance of a new community- or home-based program. Nonetheless, a Strengths-Based case management plan can help them have a solid understanding of what they need to continue doing and what they have the ability to do.

A Deeper Dive Equals a Deeper Change

As a result of analyzing the client’s unique background, skills, resources, and knowledge of what they can achieve, the case manager and the team they work with can set a client up for an increased chance of success. If the client can get to a place of significant growth early on, their overall outcome and future is more likely to be positive. They may also gain a sense of independence and strength more quickly than expected.

Like any other rehabilitation plan, this case management model is often used in inpatient facilities, eventually leading to outpatient or community-based treatment. However, it can still be used for a wide variety of clients, such as adults in parenting skills and trauma-informed recovery programs, veterans adjusting to civilian life, senior clients recovering from hospitalization, people preparing to get out of jail, and many others.


How We Can Help

Whatever a case manager’s plan for helping clients may be, they need the resources and tools to do the work properly. At CaseWorthy, we provide those resources, along with knowledge of how to use them. We’d love to hear from you about your needs and experiences, and if you’d like to learn more about what we have to offer nonprofits, see the other resources on our website!

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