As more and more of us now live in cities, natural and manufactured disasters have a much more significant impact on people’s lives than in the past. Nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population resides in urban areas, increasing population concentration in coastal flood-prone communities and regions. Congestion, limited escape routes, dense infrastructure, and poverty add to vulnerability. Cities and countries in other areas of the world face similar problems.
Disasters test our limits as a community and a civilization. In unexpected times of chaos and sudden breakdowns in systems, groups of people must come together to help those affected by the emergency. Disasters can impact all aspects of life and make survival harder, the longer a group is exposed to circumstances. So, help must arrive swiftly and rehabilitate the affected as soon as possible in an orderly manner.
Such efforts will require resources, individuals with expertise, rapid communication, coordination, and strategic plans to rehabilitate people to a normal life again. Given the broad range of tasks and groups involved, systems and tools must be present to assist those managing disaster affectees.
Effective disaster response and recovery involve identifying and establishing an organization that serves the needs of vulnerable populations utilizing pre-disaster risk assessments and crisis management communication with planned and tested tools and vital resources. Disaster Case Management is one such tool.
DCM is a program that addresses human services needs following a disaster through partner integration, provider capacity building, and State level program development. Disaster Case Management (DCM) is vital in connecting vulnerable populations with available resources after a disaster.
Federal Disaster Case Management is a program that addresses human services needs through state-level partnerships with Health and Human Services. Currently, this program is only available during presidentially declared disasters upon request by the governor through FEMA.
DCM is a recovery partnership between disaster survivors and case managers. The process involves identifying unmet needs: monetary, advocacy, and other necessary resources to survive and recover from a disaster. Each disaster survivor has unique social, financial, or legal needs. Disaster case managers identify those needs and connect them with the necessary resources.
DCM services educate all involved communities, identify needed resources, and address the diverse needs of the impacted population. Disaster case managers listen to, support, investigate, educate, care for, and advocate for affected families throughout their long road to recovery. Disaster case managers also develop individual recovery plans to guide affected individuals throughout their recovery process.
Collaboration among stakeholders using the right tools will help identify needs and find solutions to assist communities during the response and recovery phases.
Disaster recovery is intensive and extensive, thus, very time-consuming. Redundant, repeatable steps of looking for available resources at multiple public, private, and nonprofit organizations should be minimized to expedite the services for individuals impacted by the disaster.
Materials and equipment that are necessary for rebuilding and rehabilitating may be obtained by creating partnerships with private industry.
Coordinating resources through a previously established platform – to identify and track donor funds and available resources – can nearly eliminate the duplication of benefits, creating shortages of lifesaving resources in one area while others benefit.
The overall case management goal in disaster recovery programs is to move applicants as quickly as possible from disaster to recovery. That work involves more than just processing applications and paperwork. Experienced case managers know how critical it is to build strong relationships with applicants. They do this by listening, showing empathy, providing excellent customer service and support, and communicating program requirements.
Consistency in all these areas is important. Applicants often develop a relationship with their case managers through this process, so their initial meeting must be positive. Evenwell-adjusted members of society find themselves badly hurt and clueless in the aftermath of a disaster which makes the job of DCM workers ever important, they must connect with, guide, and provide services for the usually large number of affected individuals by arranging necessary resources, funds and service providers.
Case management is a collaborative and iterative process. It involves taking action up front and throughout the program—advocating, assessing, communicating, coordinating, facilitating, and planning—to achieve a goal or an outcome. Here we share five case management best practices and lessons for DCM.
PlanStreet’s case management software can help DCM workers bring together intake, and service provision, track progress, and monitor impact in the aftermath of disasters by providing a one-stop portal for:
For more information, schedule an Introductory call with our representative today.