Good communication is key to any successful career. Case managers must be able to effectively communicate with clients, medical personnel, and family members in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page about their client’s care plan. Mastering effective communication skills will help you be a better advocate for your client and a better team member at work.
The Fundamentals of Effective Communication
We communicate with the people around us all day every day, whether it’s intentional or not. A successful case manager uses both verbal and nonverbal communication methods to keep clients and their care teams informed.
When speaking to clients, it’s important to always use clear and concise language. Case managers interact with a diverse group of people each day, and they need to take this into account as they communicate verbally. Effective verbal communication also requires acute active listening skills. Every client deserves to be heard and understood, and it’s the case manager’s job to advocate for their needs and rights.
When speaking with clients, a case manager must be able to show empathy and understanding. Each client’s circumstances are unique, and it’s your job to meet them where they’re at, and connect them to the resources they need to grow and thrive.
Communication is more than speaking and listening. Nonverbal language is just (if not more) important than spoken words. A great case manager is aware of the way their body language communicates empathy and compassion toward their clients. This includes facial expressions, tone of voice, and the way you hold your body when speaking to a client. A caring expression and gentle tone go a long way toward building trust and communicating your commitment to helping your client succeed.
Building Rapport with Clients
Case managers communicate with clients from diverse backgrounds, and that requires a great deal of care. In order to establish trust with a client, it’s important to be sensitive toward their cultural background. This may effect the way you use eye contact, the type of language you choose, and the tone of voice you use to communicate.
A successful case manager knows how to use effective questioning techniques in order to learn more about their client. This provides a foundation for a relationship that’s built on trust, and allows the case manager to advocate for them effectively.
Case Documentation and Reporting
Case managers are charged with the creation and regular documentation of case reports. This document is viewed by the entire care team to provide tailored services for the client. A case manager must accurately input information that’s clear, concise, and informative, so the entire care team has the most up-to-date information about the client at all times.
These case reports must always remain confidential and should always include the latest information about the client’s progress.
Communication with Healthcare Professionals
A case manager’s job is to be a liaison between a client and the healthcare professionals on their care team. That means, you’ll need to be able to effectively collaborate with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals so that everyone is on the same page regarding the client’s care. A case manager must also be able to communicate effectively with the interdisciplinary team as needed.
To communicate with medical professionals, the case manager should have a mastery of medical terminology, and must be able to use it appropriately to discuss the client’s care plan.
Conflict Resolution Skills
Case management can be messy, and conflicts are a part of collaborating with others. Case managers should be able to identify conflicts when they occur, and manage them effectively. He or she should have a variety of conflict resolution strategies in their tool kit, so they can guide clients and team members through conflict with ease.
A case manager must also be able to discuss difficult topics with their clients and care team members. By using empathy, body language, and clear language, he or she can relay difficult information in a way that’s gentle and kind.
Technology and Communication
Case managers use a variety of software and technology each day when communicating with clients and medical personnel. It’s important to have a good handle on how to use your facility’s communication software, and to be mindful of data security and privacy practices.
Today, telehealth and remote work are common practice in the healthcare field. A case manager should be able to utilize these resources to communicate effectively with their clients just like they would if they were in person. Remote video calls are often utilized when meeting with a care team, so everyone can discuss the client’s plan at once, without having to coordinate an in-person meeting.
Communication in Crisis Situations
Case managers must be able to think on their feet and respond to circumstances with swift action. Handling emergencies are a part of the job, and case managers need to have the skills necessary to think clearly and communicate effectively in a crisis. Many case management agencies provide crisis training for their case managers.
Clients may find themselves in circumstances that are scary and emergent. When this happens, it’s the case manager’s job to provide the right support so that the client can work toward healing. This requires wisdom, effective communication strategies, and plenty of empathy.
Learn More About Case Management
Case managers are an incredibly valuable asset to a client’s healing and growth. When a case manager has the right communication skills, he or she can build a relationship with their client that allows them to care for and champion for them. Case managers are the glue that holds a care team together, and they’re responsible for ensuring that the medical professionals and other service providers have the information they need to help the client to succeed. Without excellent communication skills, the case manager won’t be able to advocate for the client effectively.
If you’re interested in learning more about what a case manager’s job entails, let’s chat. PASCO works with case managers to provide quality care to mutual clients. Our team at PASCO is committed to helping clients get the care they need to live full, happy lives. Contact us to learn more about how you can help.