Essentials of Case Management

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Case managers, experts, and leaders agree that advocacy is integral to case management practice and necessary for enhancing the client experience of care, quality, safety, and outcomes. Through advocacy, case managers are able to customize provision of health care services and resources according to the client needs, culture, and values. They also are effective at establishing client–case manager healing, trusting, and respectful relationships where the client is the source of control and is empowered to voice needs and preferences. In addition, case managers promote client advocacy by ensuring that the client is engaged and able to make informed decisions. Finally, they advocate for what is in the best interest of the client by maintaining collaboration and cooperation among the various involved health care providers, keeping open and transparent communication where important information flows at all times, anticipating the client’s needs, and constantly focusing on client safety and quality care outcomes. While the strategies employed and the tasks undertaken may differ from one case manager or practice setting to another, the focus on the client is a unifying factor for advocacy.

To be successful at client advocacy, case managers must demonstrate that they possess appropriate knowledge, skills, and competencies in this area. They also must be able to relate the impact of their advocacy on client care outcomes (i.e., demonstrate the value of advocacy). Case management leaders are encouraged to use the content of this two-part article and develop a strategic focus on advocacy in their case management programs, train and educate case managers in this integral role, and focus on building the case manager’s competence in this essential area. Ultimately, they should be able to advance the performance of the health care organizations and systems where they practice especially in the IOM six aims of high-quality health care and IHI’s Triple Aim: better individual health and care experience, better population health, and affordable care.



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