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In most contexts, the phrase “case management” refers to a care giving profession that combines social work, medical counseling, and insurance advocacy for patients and their families. A case manager of this sort works alongside aging or terminally ill individuals to help them get the care and support that they need. Case management training and certification programs help case managers sharpen their skills, learn about insurance and medical treatment options, and hone interpersonal and counseling skills. Not all case managers are required to participate in training, but many elect to, both as a way of improving their own skills and as an opportunity to learn from others.
Because case management is not a medical profession, there are generally no licensing requirements for practitioners. Anyone can market herself as a case manager, but in order to get a job — not to mention keep a job — certain skills and know-how are essential. Most case managers have backgrounds in social work, nursing, or grief counseling. Case management training allows both active and hopeful case managers a means of gaining more specialized insights into the field.
There are usually many job possibilities for case managers. They can be independent aid workers, employees of care giving agencies, or government or insurance plan contractors. Countries with nationalized health care will often assign a case manager to certain patients as a matter of right, and case managers are usually available on a reference basis for people receiving government health care anywhere. Hospitals, insurance companies, and nursing homes also regularly keep lists of case managers to forward on to appropriate patients.
Case manager training is often what sets case managers apart, and is one of the best ways to make it to the top of either a hospital or government health care reference list. Many case management societies and professional organizations offer case management training opportunities, either in the form of lecture series or take-home study guides. Most of the time, training courses count for “continuing education units,” or CEUs, that case managers can put on their resumes.
Some training is designed for individuals, while others is marketed to groups. Depending on the provider, training courses can be sometimes be brought on-site and tailored to a specific setting. All case managers working with a hospital’s oncology patients, for instance, might together take a case management training class tailored just to strategies for dealing with cancer-stricken families. Other training is more robust, dealing with more general professional challenges, new trends, and lessons from seasoned managers.
Case management training can in some circumstances lead to certification. There is often more than one certification entity in any given place. In general, certification usually requires an exam and an investigation of moral character. Depending on the credentialing body, a case manager certification can be worth a lot, or barely recognized. Before investing in a credentialing program, it is usually a good idea to ensure that the resulting case management certificate will actually hold value.