Friday, September 30, 2011

Explore a Client's Network of Support

Having even just one family member or friend in a person's corner, when that person doesn't have other support, may have make an astounding difference. It may mean a person has a temporary place to stay after she loses her housing. She has help filling out a prescription. Or it may mean just having a listening ear. A mini community. It's good practice. I'll support you and you'll support me.

I want to encourage myself to remember to delve deeper into a client's network of support. Make certain to have this conversation with clients. Sure, sometimes clients have already tapped into their personal network before coming to Empoder but this isn't always the case. Along with family and friends' support are the more formal options. Is the client a veteran? Does she have support specific to her situation? Is she eligible for assistance through mental health resources?

This is for case managers who want to fill in gaps in a client's lack of support and moreso, those who who are tempted to do this a great deal by themselves. Earlier on as a case manager I approached my work like with a few intensive clients. While I did reach out to other providers I learned later in how many situations it would've benefited several clients and myself to reach out for additional support sooner.

I've already spoken about limitations of case managers. Some of us may have a holistic approach but on our own we can't be family, friends, legal, and medical advocates. We're a resource at Empoder. We do provide guidance in regards to life skills and offer support but it is exhausting and professionally not possible (until I get the legal and medical degree in the mail) to do it all.

Also see Struggling with Limitations of My Work

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Few Requests for Home Visits

It's good to do home visits. Suddenly you're in the clients' territory where they're comfortable. You learn a lot from doing home visits, including some things you would not know from only having a client visit you. Like how many people actually live in the apartment. What condition it's in. Glimpse into what their home life looks like. It's a pretty intimate view, really.

I do appreciate clients taking a few steps in making you, the case manager, comfortable.

1. To the question is (wearing) my towel enough ... The answer would be a no.

2. Try and make space for the case manager to sit somewhere. It doesn't have to be furniture if this is an issue, of course. But it's great when there's a clear area to sit.

3. Try not to be surprised when your case manager shows up at the time you had scheduled to meet (also known as I can hear you in there...).

Though I don't expect the following by any means, I'm grateful when a client offers me something to drink. Not sure why -- it's the symbolism of it more than anything.