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Caseload management, work-related stress and case manager self-efficacy among Victorian mental health case managers

Authors
Publisher
Informa Healthcare
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Psychology

Abstract

Objective: In Australia and comparable countries, case management has become the dominant process by which public mental health services provide outpatient clinical services to people with severe mental illness. There is recognition that caseload size impacts on service provision and that management of caseloads is an important dimension of overall service management. There has been little empirical investigation, however, of caseload and its management. The present study was undertaken in the context of an industrial agreement in Victoria, Australia that required services to introduce standardized approaches to caseload management. The aims of the present study were therefore to (i) investigate caseload size and approaches to caseload management in Victoria's mental health services; and (ii) determine whether caseload size and/or approach to caseload management is associated with work-related stress or case manager self-efficacy among community mental health professionals employed in Victoria's mental health services. Method: A total of 188 case managers responded to an online cross-sectional survey with both purpose-developed items investigating methods of case allocation and caseload monitoring, and standard measures of work-related stress and case manager personal efficacy. Results: The mean caseload size was 20 per full-time case manager. Both work-related stress scores and case manager personal efficacy scores were broadly comparable with those reported in previous studies. Higher caseloads were associated with higher levels of work-related stress and lower levels of case manager personal efficacy. Active monitoring of caseload was associated with lower scores for work-related stress and higher scores for case manager personal efficacy, regardless of size of caseload. Although caseloads were most frequently monitored by the case manager, there was evidence that monitoring by a supervisor was more beneficial than self-monitoring. Conclusion: Routine monitoring of caseload, especially by a workplace supervisor, may be effective in reducing work-related stress and enhancing case manager personal efficacy. Keywords: case management, caseload, stress

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