The average life expectancy in the U.S. is projected to increase from 79.7 years in 2017 to 85.6 by 2060, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, creating increased demand for healthcare services. Additionally, an estimated 21.2 million Americans aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment in 2018, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The need to serve these and other vulnerable populations is great, and case management assistants help fill the need.
The role of the case management assistant as a liaison in the field of social work is far reaching. Case management assistants advocate for clients, as well as their caregivers and families, by seeking out individualized care options and connecting clients with appropriate health and social services. They also support other professionals — such as social workers — in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and other settings.
A bachelor’s in social work can help those interested in case management develop core competencies in the field.
What Is a Case Management Assistant?
Exactly what does a case management assistant do? These professionals are the first to meet with and screen clients to assess their well-being and personal stability. Case management assistants consider such factors as shelter and housing, mental and general health, domestic violence, possible drug abuse, and other health-related circumstances. This may involve interviewing clients in their home, a hospital, or a placement facility. As part of this initial assessment, a case management assistant helps identify any number of underlying issues.
While they perform limited casework and treatment planning, case management assistants prepare and maintain client case files to ensure patients receive the comprehensive care outlined by the case management team. The role of the case management assistant extends from supporting case managers with a variety of administrative tasks to writing narratives for case files.
Another primary duty of a case management assistant is to serve as a liaison between clients and service providers. They assist clients in reviewing their benefits and verifying health coverage. These professionals also help clients gain access to public assistance programs, search for support groups, and locate safer living environments.
Where Does a Case Management Assistant Work?
Case management assistants serve clients across a variety of settings. Their workplace can include social service and mental health agencies, hospitals, shelters, assisted living facilities, clinics, group homes, and nonprofit organizations. As such, what a case management assistant does is perform different duties based on their work environment and the type of care they specialize in.
For example, case management assistants may work in the field or an office as they serve veterans adjusting to civilian life, immigrants acclimating to a new country, people living with disabilities, elderly individuals living alone, or former prison inmates reintegrating into society.
Essential Skills of a Case Management Assistant
Those in case management assistant positions should possess both broad and specific skills to serve clients. An online Bachelor of Social Work can help students develop core skill sets and a broad knowledge base. Some must-have skills for these professionals include the following:
A core part of the case management assistant position focuses on actively listening to clients and their caregivers, friends, and families. It is beneficial, as a result, that case management assistants be bilingual or even multilingual in some communities. Understanding each client’s needs helps case management assistants relay information to their supervisors and service providers to obtain the best care for their clients.
Primarily, what a case management assistant does is serve as an effective problem solver. They assess clients and their situations to make positive changes. These professionals must maintain knowledge of current programs and services to offer practical and timely solutions. Creativity is key, because some cases can demand problem solving that involves multiple generations and differing age-specific needs.
Case management assistants are responsible for overseeing several clients at a time, ensuring information is accurate, preparing and maintaining case files, and keeping detailed records of available community resources.
Case management assistants must maintain discretion, as they are entrusted with a client’s personal information and knowledge of their unique situation. This confidentiality extends to ensuring client data is secure. What a case management assistant does in this area is key, as legal regulations and compliance protocols must be followed.
These professionals earn their clients’ trust and put them at ease by developing an open working relationship. Case management assistants who foster effective relationships with clients find follow-up efforts to be more productive.
Compassion is a key characteristic of those who are working in case management assistant positions. These professionals are often privy to sensitive information, sometimes from clients who are undergoing a personal crisis.
Engaging with clients from diverse backgrounds requires case management assistants who have developed sensitivity to, and a general understanding of, a variety of cultures, religions, and social norms.
The Salary and Job Growth of a Case Management Assistant
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which classifies them as social and human service assistants, case management assistants earned a median annual salary of $35,060 in May 2019.
Salaries for this position vary depending on where these professionals work. Case management assistants in local and state government roles had an annual median salary of $41,030 and $38,760, respectively. Those employed by individual and family services, community and vocational rehabilitation services, and nursing and residential care facilities had annual median salaries ranging from approximately $31,000 to just over $34,000.
Salaries may also vary based on education level, professional background, and experience. Candidates with the best prospects, according to the BLS, hold a postsecondary degree in a relevant field.
The BLS projects case management assistant job growth of 17% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the country’s overall job growth.
As Americans age, case management assistants will be needed more than ever to arrange for an array of social services including meal delivery, adult day care, or home health visits. Additionally, and the country’s drug abuse problem continues, increased demand is projected for rehabilitation programs as the country prioritizes treatment for drug offenders instead of immediate incarceration.
Explore a Career in Case Management
Discover more about careers in social work, including what a case management assistant does, by exploring Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Social Work program.
The program focuses on real-world scenarios, experiential projects, diversity, self-care and social justice, and generalist social work practice. The curriculum is designed to develop leaders in social work and built to align with the nine Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) competencies.
A position as a case management assistant is a great start to develop marketable skills and impact the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.