When a patient enters a social service program such as the health care system, it is important to keep track of their progress, including any new developments such as improvements or setbacks in their condition, changes in their care, new treatment options and more. Without proper monitoring and record keeping, patients could get lost in the shuffle of crowded or strained care. Case managers keep patients on track to meet progress goals and healthy outcomes through effective management, organization and care.
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What They Do
Case managers can work in a variety of health care and human service settings and provide an array of services to assist patients and their families with complicated health or well-being situations. Case managers work with service providers to assess needs, organize treatment options, develop a care plan, prepare housing and facilitation for treatment and evaluate progress while also serving as an advocate for patient needs. Case managers work closely with patients and often develop personal relationships with patients and their family members through regular communication. They will work with patients and service providers to find affordable care options and effective resources necessary to achieving a better quality of life for the patient. Some case managers may serve in supervisorial roles within large departments. In these instances, they must manage larger case loads and ensure that other case managers are meeting their goals for patient care.
How to Become One
Case managers must earn a bachelor’s degree in human services or a related field such as nursing or social work. Some employers prefer advanced degrees for managerial roles, and many states require special licensures or other certifications to work in a state-regulated profession.
There is tremendous career opportunity for case managers, as the aging population drives demand for health services and care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 27 percent growth in the field through the next decade, with the median salary for professionals reaching nearly $60,000.
The chart below shows median wage of social and community service managers by industry, according to the BLS (click to enlarge image):
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