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Helping Nepal rebuild for a more resilient future

Helping Nepal rebuild for a more resilient future

An article from one of ICF’s disaster management specialists explains the role that case managers can play in the aftermath of a disaster. For over 15 years, Candye Anderson has helped state and local governments around the world recover from natural disasters.

The role of relationship building in case management

Her piece explains that the role of a case manager goes far beyond processing an applicant’s paperwork. When someone applies for help, they are often in a vulnerable and difficult position. Anyone who has lost their home in a natural disaster needs considerable support. The aim of case management should always be to help applicants to feel hopeful again and able to sense the possibility of recovery.

What makes a successful case manager?

Much of it comes down to developing strong relationships with those they are trying to help. Anyone approaching case management after a disaster should always remember that the people, they are dealing with are citizens, too. They are as much a part of our community as our own friends and neighbors. With this in mind, one of the most important aspects of being a good case manager is to show patience and kindness. They should combine this with a commitment to helping someone throughout the whole process and beyond. In this respect, case management is challenging work, but also incredibly rewarding.

Over many years, ICF has supported people who have been hit hard by natural disasters in places such as Louisiana, Texas, and Puerto Rico. In most cases, our case managers will decide on someone’s eligibility for aid by working through a carefully established process. You can read more about what those steps are in the full article, here.

Best practices for ensuring a collaborative case management process

The best approach to case management after a disaster is a collaborative one.

We recommend that at every stage of the program, case managers proactively take action to work with the people they are trying to support. Implement this approach right from the start. It should encompass every area of the process, from advocating for your applicants to planning and coordinating support. And at every stage, communicate clearly and adapt your message to your audience.

The article outlines all of our recommendations for best practice, drawn from our extensive case management experience.

We make five recommendations, covering:

  1. Taking a one-to-one approach
  2. Establishing upfront communication
  3. Placing a strong emphasis on training
  4. Promoting accessibility
  5. Using data to inform decisions

Adaptability and sensitivity are key

Our best practices recommendations form a solid basis for a successful case management process. But we also know that every person, every community, and every situation is unique. For this reason, being flexible to each applicant’s needs is key. It’s why the very best-case managers are also great listeners and communicators. They are able to adapt the support they offer as they move through the process.