You, C., Dunt, D. & Doyle, C. (2015). What is the role of a case manager in community aged care? A qualitative study in Australia. Health and Social Care in the Community, 1-12. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12238
This study aimed to explore the perceptions of case managers about their roles in providing community aged care in Australia. Purposeful sampling was used and 33 qualitative semi-structured interviews with 47 participants were conducted. Participants were drawn from a list of all case managers working in aged care organisations that provided publicly funded case-managed community aged care programmes in the State of Victoria, Australia. Participant selection criteria included age, gender, job titles, professional backgrounds, practice locations, organisational attributes and organisational size. Data collection was implemented between September 2012 and March 2013. Thematic analysis was performed. Participants believed that case managers performed diverse roles based on clients’ needs. They also articulated 16 important roles of case managers, including advisors, advocates, carers, communicators, co-ordinators, educators, empowering clients, engaging clients and families, liaising with people, managing budgets, navigators, negotiators, networking with people, facilitators, problem solvers and supporters. However, they were concerned about brokers, mediators and counsellors in terms of the terminology or case managers’ willingness to perform these roles. Moreover, they perceived that neither gatekeepers nor direct service provision was case managers’ role. The findings of this study suggest that case managers working in community aged care sectors may be more effective if they practised the 16 roles aforementioned. With the value of helping rather than obstructing clients to access services, they may not act as gatekeepers. In addition, they may not provide services directly as opposed to their peers working in medical care settings. The findings will also assist organisations to design job descriptions specifying case managers’ roles and associated job responsibilities. Clear job descriptions will further benefit the organisations in staff recruitment, orientation and ongoing development, as well as facilitate case managers to set professional boundaries in the delivery of case management interventions to their clients.
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