, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 219-228

Clinical care update: The chronically mentally ill

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The service systems which assist the long-term mentally ill to function in the community have been routinely described as fragmented and uncoordinated. The development and implementation of case management has been seen as one response to this dysfunctional system. This article examines case management from the perspective that case management is a needed function no matter how coordinated and integrated the system.

From this perspective, case management is driven by the clients' goals and not the systems' goals. Case management is viewed as a process by which the person with severe psychiatric disability is supported in negotiating for the various services that they want and need. Four unique activities are identified as performed by the case manager: Connecting with Clients, Planning for Services, Linking Clients with Services, and Advocating for Service Improvements.

Case management must be seen as a uniquely human response to the client's specific service needs and overall goals. For persons with long-term psychiatric disabilities, case management brings to life the human dimension of the human service system.