By Rebecca Taylor, Case Manager at Social Return Case Management
Case management supports clients to progress toward aspirations and goals for their lives. Integral to this is building a positive relationship with each client, and those close to them.
My focus as a case manager is on each unique client and what they may need; something I really enjoy about the role. That said, there are common themes within our work. One theme pivotal to meaningful support and progress is the ability to build trust and rapport.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RAPPORT IN CASE MANAGEMENT
A Google definition of the word ‘rapport’ that fits my work is; “A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.” Rapport is highlighted as a necessary communications skill within the BABICM Competency Framework (www.BABICM.org).
Client and family feedback frequently indicates the importance of skilled case management support following life-changing injury. We may be the first professional with such a wide remit and sufficient time to spend with the client to deeply explore the changes since injury in their lives, alongside their aspirations and their needs.
A collaborative assessment and planning process at an early stage is usually a good foundation upon which to build rapport. We can only progress toward providing recommendations that are appropriate and meaningful by listening and understanding each person and what motivates and engages them. From this, rapport grows with the opportunity for trust to develop and deepen.
There must be room for debate, choice and challenge from our clients. This can be an opportunity for further discussion and reflection, deepening our understanding of their needs and situation, leading to deeper insight and strengthening of rapport.
“Trust has to be earned and should come only after the passage of time”
TAILORING THE APPROACH TO BUILD RAPPORT AND TRUST
It is important to understand the right approach for each client in all stages of the relationship. Clients and family members have often been though a variety of challenging experiences. I find that some clients and families have gone for so long without the support they need, that they are very enthusiastic and quickly welcome any input and ideas from their case manager. For others it can take a number of meetings and some positive action, before a sense of mutual understanding and meaningful rapport begins to build, which promotes trust in a case manager and the case management process.
It is most certainly the case that trust and rapport are not gained simply by being an experienced professional with a great CV full of evidence of knowledge and skill. Case managers must build rapport upon which trust can be earned. As the great American tennis player Arthur Ashe said “Trust has to be earned and should come only after the passage of time”.
For more information Rebecca can be contacted at Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 0191 375 0256