Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Continuously Reassessing Clients' Capabilities

My inclination as a case manager traditionally was to more quickly offer a client support in regards to advocacy (rather than encourage her to try first on her own). This was particularly true with clients who I initially assessed as needing more support because they had a developmental disability or rather debilitating mental illness.

Though I always considered it a good part of my work to promote empowerment, initially I considered empowerment in narrow terms: Encouraging my clients to join the workforce or become involved in their community (through volunteering for example). Educating clients about their rights and benefits was certainly part of empowerment but sometimes it was easier to make the call for the client. Reaching out to a provider as a case manager sometimes yielded quicker responses. Particularly when it came to time sensitive issues this helped.

I don't even think I was quicker to offer to make a call for the client because I'm particularly nurturing or because it was part of my job but because I wanted to work hard for the people I work with. Yet that's not what social work is ultimately about. I've gotten much better at being aware and reminding myself that it's important to continue and assess a client's ability to perform certain tasks on their own. To be more inclined to offer a client to first make a call herself and let me know how it goes. This may still include educating a client on her rights/benefits if she isn't aware of them but giving her tools to advocate for herself.

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