What is Case Management?

Case management is a client-focused approach that enables support staff to work alongside clients, helping them to formulate a plan to effectively achieve their individual goals.

In case management, the support staff works collaboratively with clients while operating within an agreed framework of principles, standards and ethics which aim to empower clients and enhance decision making and responsibility. The focus is on respecting clients as individuals and providing a strengthened service and support role for each individual client, to ensure that a high quality service is received.

It is a two pronged approach incorporating direct client service, based on sound assessment and support planning, and coordination of access to and delivery of, a range of other appropriate support services.

Benefits of Case Management

The Benefits of case management for clients may include:
  • formulation of an individually tailored plan;
  • increased empowerment by measuring and evaluating their own progress;
  • increased involvement in decision making and service provision;
  • improved outcomes; and
  • improved quality of service;
The benefits of case management for service providers may include:
  • uniformity and consistency of service quality;
  • shared responsibility for client outcomes;
  • workers have a better sense of the direction they are taking on behalf of the client;
  • workers have a clearer idea of where and how they need to provide assistance;
  • interactions between the client and the worker are more focused; and
  • gaps in support services for clients will be made more evident and the extent of need can be estimated.

Case Management at the Gender Centre

Case management is particularly useful in providing assistance to clients with a complex range of needs.

Transgender people are a among the most marginalised in society and many of our residential service clients, and a number of our community clients present with a complex range of needs. Many of these clients require and use a wide range of services and different forms of assistance including housing, income, health, employment, education and training.

Therefore, case management and support planning are integral parts of both the Gender Centre's residential program and the services that we provide to the transgender and gender diverse community in general. Participation in case management is compulsory for all clients in our residential program and voluntary for our community-based clients. Each residential service client is assigned a case manager and required to attend a fortnightly case management meeting.

For residential service clients, our case management process reinforces the progress-based nature of our residential service, providing a mechanism whereby realistic goals can be formulated and a comfortable level of progress can be gained by each resident. Support planning assists each client and our staff in working effectively with each other in order to facilitate progress on the part of our clients.

Our case management service enables clients to formulate their own individual support plan with the assistance and encouragement of the case manager. The support plan may encompass short, medium and long-term goals and strategies. Each support plan attempts to address the needs of the client and to work from the client's own view of progress, taking into account any current social, emotional and/or physical limitations that the client may be experiencing, while also assisting them to progress within the Gender Centre's residential program. Our case management process enables clients to take on increasing levels of personal responsibility during their residence at the Gender Centre, enabling them to move from our residential program to stable independent accommodation.

The rate of progress towards achieving their individual goals varies among clients. Among the most marginalised in society, many of our clients present with depression and other psychological issues such as anxiety, stress and anger. For these clients, progress may be made in very small steps. Other clients may wish to work on managing their money better by setting a budget. Other clients may wish to work on their health by eating well and exercising. Increasing literacy may be a goal for other clients. Longer term goals may include enrolling in an education program, learning to drive, undertaking voluntary work or taking on paid employment. All goals that lead to our clients overall progress are valid.

The case manager and the client discuss the progress of each goal during the fortnightly meeting. When initial goals are met, new goals may be formulated. The client and Case Manager discuss progress made, or impediments to progress that the client may have experienced. Strategies for progress are discussed, and previous strategies are talked through in order to assess their effectiveness.

Coordination of services is a major focus of our case management and the case manager may assist the client where appropriate to access other agencies (i.e. the Department of Housing or Centrelink, community health centres, financial counsellors, nutritionists, specialist counsellors, etc).

Gender Centre case management also allows for clients wishing to work with a case manager seconded from another agency (ie. an Aboriginal client may request an Aboriginal case manager; other clients may need to work with a bilingual worker or an interpreter). In these cases, the seconded case managers work with our staff to ensure that all of our clients receive the assistance and support that they require. Clients may also choose to invite an advocate or support person to case management meetings. This may be a worker from another agency, a trusted friend, or a family member.

Case Closure & Exit Planning

Case closure/exit planning involves planning for when a person will cease to be supported by the case management process and identifies any follow-up that may be required.

Case closure and exit planning includes identifying the ongoing support needs of clients, and where possible linking them in with relevant supports in the community. This could include their own network of friends, relatives, cultural group and support groups as well as other service providers.

Upon case closure, each client has a plan which assists them to maintain and continue their achievements in the future.