How to Reduce Burnout With Caseload Management Services for Behavioral Health

Caseload management: executive working in her car

When you consider that the pre-COVID burnout rate among mental health practitioners ranged between 21-61% on average, it’s especially alarming that a recent survey of behavioral health practitioners found that 90% were reporting exhaustion and burnout.

As the demand for behavioral health services has grown to an all-time high — and serious health concerns about mental health professional burnout have reached an all-time high — it's essential to acknowledge the importance of case management.

Burnout has resulted in increased behavioral health practitioner attrition rates and poor performance in all areas of behavioral health, rehabilitation, and in the administration of human services. Some models indicate that work-related stress, work demands, and perceived support all contribute to burnout. However, a comprehensive EHR that includes an all-in-one system for scheduling, caseload management, and workload tracking can help combat burnout and manage workloads. 

Let’s delve into the differences between caseload management and workload management, what drives high caseloads, and how case management is used in behavioral health, social work, and human services to improve the effectiveness of providers. We’ll also discuss how a comprehensive EHR can help you better understand and develop manageable workloads. 

Caseload Management vs. the Management of Workloads

The difference between workload and caseload is critical, and understanding workload is essential for providing honest and effective caseload management.

For the purpose of clarity, “caseload” is the number of cases that can include children, families, or difficult tasks assigned to an individual worker during a specific period. You can quantify the caseload for an individual worker, all employees allocated to a given type of case, or all caseworkers in a particular area and show a ratio of cases or clients to staff members. This can also extend to all the workers in an area or region. 

“Workload,” on the other hand, is the quantity of work necessary to manage and resolve the allocated cases successfully. The workload is the average amount of time it takes a worker to perform the work required for each given case, as well as any additional non-casework tasks.

High caseloads and workloads may result from a variety of factors. Higher caseloads are sometimes due to an escalation in maltreatment — for instance, an increase in substance use. Higher caseloads can also result from heightened reporting, which can happen if public awareness is raised. 

Another common occurrence is when caseloads change due to a revision of intake or caseload decision criteria. For example, when the minimum thresholds change for opening new cases or when there are service expansions (such as when the foster care age is extended to include older youth). 

Finally, changes in laws and rules regarding professional development requirements or reporting obligations can increase the amount of labor necessary for each social worker or behavioral health provider.

The Importance of Caseload Management for Human Services Managers

Human services, including working with child welfare and within the foster care system, are highly complex and intensive professions. Having manageable caseloads can significantly impact a worker's ability to provide quality services, engage families, and remain productive, which ultimately improves the lives and outcomes of the child, family, and community. 

Workload management in the human services industry entails the acts of distributing and managing work across teams in the most efficient and effective manner. Time management as part of case management may also assist organizations. When properly applied, it can maximize staff effectiveness while mitigating chaos and confusion. The result is more efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction.

To help managers prevent burnout among staff, support workloads, and perform caseload management, they must be able to easily identify all available resources and quickly balance the workloads of employees by reassigning or redistributing their work. Improved visibility gives managers at-a-glance views of individual and team workload levels, providing quick insights into who is working on what and who is assigned to the team. This type of visibility is a key feature of ContinuumCloud’s EHR

Individual Workload and Caseload Management With a Comprehensive EHR

Fixed schedule productivity could be key to managing a high caseload. Sticking to set working hours (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for example) helps workers resist the temptation to work overtime and compels them to prioritize each day. Fixed schedules challenge employees to consider what is (and is not) essential early in the process and eliminate activities that are a waste of time. 

According to some in the social work community, this is critical when dealing with a large workload. When workers don’t adhere to fixed working hours, they accelerate the potential for burnout. 

We sometimes mistake working long hours for working efficiently, yet this is rarely the case. This is why workers also need to be able to view their own caseload and develop workload agendas. ContinuumCloud’s comprehensive EHR gives behavioral health professionals the ability to plan their daily, weekly, and monthly caseload directly from their calendars.

What Does Caseload Management Look Like in the Field?

Caseload management: manager typing on a tablet

For many behavioral health professionals working in the field, caseload management might seem like a “unicorn.” It's a nice idea, but is it real? If you think managing a day's workload equates to "eating lunch in the car" or circling back to the office “real quick” for an end-of-the-day upload, we have some great news to share

Reasonable caseload management must take into consideration the type and volume of work undertaken daily. It’s not always possible to determine the actual amount of work involved from a "head count" of case files or even from dividing up individual service users or families.

If your company does not already operate a case management system individually, then your team can utilize tools within ContinuumCloud's EHR mobile app to streamline difficult tasks, manage caseloads, and track the amount of work being assigned based on real-world situations like home visits. 

A Caseload Management Solution Designed Specifically for Behavioral Health

ContinuumCloud’s comprehensive EHR is a software system designed specifically for those in behavioral health and human services. As such, it can enhance your employees’ remote work experience, increase your workforce’s productivity, and improve the delivery of your services. 

Moreover, the mobile-optimized EHR includes the most-used features of the primary EHR for managing client care in the field. Team members can access documentation even when they don't have a Wi-Fi or mobile connection. Then, once reconnected to ContinuumCloud's EHR, it will auto-sync all the data entered while in the field. 

Voice-to-text capabilities also allow employees to be hands-on in the field. You can access it on Android, Apple, and Windows 10 platforms, and we are continually upgrading the features to meet your needs better.

Partner With ContinuumCloud to Reduce Burnout and Improve Caseload Management

Entrepreneur happily talking to another person

Burnout in behavioral health and social services is reaching alarming rates, partly due to massive increases in workload. Fortunately, intuitive and cost-effective solutions exist to help your organization improve its caseload management efforts. 

ContinuumCloud’s comprehensive EHR solution offers an organized framework for your team, even for those who work in the field. With ContinuumCloud, you can access a comprehensive suite of helpful tools on any platform. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your caseload management.

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