Case management: what it is and why it is important

Case management: what it is and why it is important

Case management is a term used in numerous fields, from legal to healthcare, and indicates the process of taking charge and managing a "case": this process is declined through the structuring and implementation of various actions, with methods that are also very different from each other depending on the specific realities that implement it.

In the humanitarian field, case management is an essential service - which is structured in different phases and through appropriate, systematic and timely actions that always take into account the institutional realities active in a given territory - and a method through which the broadest protection function of organizations such as INTERSOS .

In relation to international contexts characterized by emergency situations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines Protection Case Management as that activity which aims to support people living in difficult social contexts due to violations of rights and to help them find targeted and sustainable solutions. Understood as an integral protection response for people at greatest risk in emergency and post-emergency situations, Protection Case Management therefore provides fundamental support for their recovery and well-being , strengthening their protection capacities and rebuilding social networks in their community.

However, as mentioned, case management takes on particular characteristics in individual projects.

Case management can, for example, start from the Social Action Desk : starting from a multidimensional analysis of the beneficiary's needs, the aim is to jointly identify the necessary actions to overcome the needs presented, periodically monitoring their implementation. The primary objective is to guide the beneficiaries through the offer of services in the area and at the same time provide the tools capable of emancipating the person and gradually accompanying them towards overcoming the state of need.

At INTERSOS Lab, case management and its intervention practices have a specific characteristic: implemented by Cristina Ialongo , case manager and psychologist of the centre, Case Management is a process of taking charge which, with the aim of explaining and responding requests for help from the beneficiaries by co-building a dedicated path, adopt a continuum methodology with the psychological support service offered by the centre. The intervention, in fact, is based on a - also - clinical reading of the individual cases to allow for a timely detection of the need for psychological management. In this way it is more possible to foresee the possibility of free psychological support at our center - in continuity or after the case management process - or through a referral to the local services.

The ultimate objective is represented by the reduction and contrast to the risk conditions of the beneficiaries, where by risk we mean situations of marginalization and social precariousness, economic and housing hardship, exposure to various forms of violence, poverty - not only economic, but also educational and affective -, difficulty in accessing and using health, socialization and education services in the area.

At INTERSOS Lab , in 2021, 43 beneficiaries were supported through a case management process.

To learn more

If you want to learn more about what it means to adopt an integrated approach in case management activities, understand what are the principles that guide case management in INTERSOS or what are the necessary skills and related operational tools, take a look at the dedicated INTERSOS Lab course .