Monday, September 14, 2009

Yellow Note Tales

Despite the annoyance of getting them done, I do of course enjoy the fact that white and yellow case notes document every contact with a client for the sake of not having to rely on a faulty memory. Also, it's a good way to learn what other case managers have worked on with clients before they were getting transferred to me. White notes are cut and dry. Factual information: purpose of contact, service provided, plans to move forward. What, who, when, where, and to a degree why of social work. Yellow notes are for everything else, that is, what's not factual. I sometimes also document secondary services in yellow case notes. Also documented in yellow case notes are what the case manager thinks and/or her impressions of client's mood, unusual behavior by client, quotes, and so on. The juicy stuff.

Over the years and across departments case managers have seen a lot. In one incident a case manager returned to her office after making photocopies for a client and caught him take a swig from a flask. Clients have been seen at various points of undress while answering their door.

One incident involved A separate file revealed a client wanting to file a complaint against his case manager. The case manager had visited the client and his wife's apartment after having not heard from them in several months (we do follow ups if we haven't heard from a client in a while). The wife had spoken curtly to the case manager and slammed the door in his face. The client complained that the case manager had tried to hit on his wife, resulting in him asking to see another case manager and finally transferring out of the agency.

And another incident made me pause: A case manager was at a bank with a client to open a new account and set up billing payments for him when a few muffled bangs were heard. Not knowing what he was hearing at first, the case manager froze for a moment until he saw other people bending down and the client with him shouting at him, "Duck!" It turned out a shooting took place a block down the street. Not being close to it, the case manager didn't see anything. After eventually leaving the bank the case manager asked the client how he was feeling. "It had to happen on a Wednesday," the client answered him and shook his head.

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