Most travelers will tell you that having a guide when exploring new places can be very helpful. A case manager can be that guide as we begin to explore the options available to us as we age.

Case management is a holistic, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to the planning and delivery of care and services to meet the needs of individuals in a cost-effective manner.

Currently in Hawai‘i, there are no regulations or licensure regarding case managers. Social workers provide case management under their licensure’s scope of service. Social workers, nurses and others can be certified through a number of certifying organizations such as the Commission for Case Manager Certification®, the American Case Management Association, Case Management Society of America and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Case management incorporates assessment; identification of needs; care and service plan development; advocacy; coordination and provision of necessary services; and referral linkages. The process includes monitoring, evaluating and documenting care and services. Participation by and education of the individual and/or representative is central to the provision of individualized case management services.

Some case managers focus on a particular population such as mental health or dialysis, while others are more general. Case managers can work alone or as part of an organization. Some provide only short term services. This is usually determined by the service plan and the client is discharged upon completion of the plan.

Other case managers provide ongoing case management. They are available as needed over a long period of time, often monitoring for potential problems or providing a safety net should a crisis arise. It is important to ask questions in order to be sure you are working with someone who can assist you.

It is important that you find a case manager that shares your philosophy and needs. The assessment and service plan are the most important tools a case manager uses. The assessment helps identify resources and needs so that together the case manager and individual can develop the map to explore the options available. Together, the exploration of this new territory can be less
confusing and more positive.

Some questions include:

  • How many years have you been providing case management services?
  • What is your certification or training? Are you licensed in your profession?
  • Do you belong to any professional organizations?
  • Are references available upon request?
  • Tell me about the process you follow.
  • Do you provide ongoing case management or are your services time limited?
  • Are you knowledgeable about dementia and associated care needs?
  • What is your philosophy on aging in place or need for placement?
  • Are you available for emergencies? Can I reach you easily?
  • How much do you charge for services? Will you provide me with a detailed list of charges?