Do I Need Guardianship or Case Management?

Do I Need Guardianship or Case Management?

Which One Is Right For Me?

Guardianship and case management are two distinct approaches taken in caring for individuals who require assistance in managing their personal affairs. In general, guardianship refers to legal authority given to a person or entity to make decisions on behalf of another person. On the other hand, case management refers to a collaborative approach taken to identify the needs and goals of an individual, create a care plan and connect the individual to necessary resources.

Guardianship vs. Case Management

Guardianship is a legal arrangement that allows an individual or organization to make decisions on behalf of someone who has been judged unable to make certain decisions for themselves due to physical or mental incapacity. The guardian is given a legal authority to make decisions for the protected individual on various aspects of their lives, which may include health care, residential living arrangements, finances and legal issues. Guardianship is typically sought when there is no other option to address the needs of a person who is not able to make legal decisions on their own behalf. Additionally, guardianship can be viewed as the unfortunate results of lack of pre-planning for a durable power of attorney and healthcare surrogate.

Case management, on the other hand, takes a care coordination approach that identifies the needs and goals of an individual, and works collaboratively to build a care plan and connect them with appropriate services. Case managers typically work with individuals who require their support, and help coordinate a range of services including medical care, housing, food, and other support services. The case manager works to develop a comprehensive care plan tailored to the specific needs and goals of the individual they are serving, while ensuring their rights are being protected and respected.

The differences between guardianship and case management go beyond the authority granted to each approach. Guardianship can impose legal limitations on an individual’s personal autonomy, with the decisions of a court-appointed guardian replacing the individual’s preferences. In contrast, case management emphasizes the individual’s choice, self-determination and autonomy. Case managers act as advocates for their clients, providing guidance, support, and assisting the individual take responsibility for their own lives.

Another major difference between guardianship and case management is their focus. Guardianship is often viewed as a crisis intervention in response to an adult who is deemed to have cognitive or physical impairments, while case management is a preventative approach taken to aid individuals to live autonomously at home, minimizing the need for hospitalization, discharge to nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities.

Do You Must Have A Cognitive Capacity to Receive Case Management Services?

No. An individual doesn’t have to be physically and cognitively intact to receive private case management services. However, if the individual is incapacitated, he or she must have a healthcare surrogate that was appointed to make decisions on their behalf prior to his or her loss of ability to make decisions. It is very common for healthcare surrogates to hire the help of a local patient advocate and care manager to assist with the oversight of care for their loved ones.

In conclusion, guardianship and case management aim to provide assistance to individuals who are deemed unable to manage some aspects of their lives on their own. Nonetheless, the two approaches are distinct in their goals, focus, and impact on the individual’s autonomy and quality of life. Guardianship is an authoritative measure involving a legal process that takes the individual’s preferences out of the equation completely, while case management is a collaborative model that focuses on promoting the autonomy, health, and wellbeing of the individual. Ultimately, the choice between guardianship and case management depends on the individual’s circumstances and the extent of their needs for assistance.

Ready to speak with our care managers? Call us today  at 305-204-7392 for a free consultation to discuss options. We offer counseling, telephone re-assurance service, and patient advocacy.

Disclaimer: this blog is for informational use only. 
It is not intended to serve as, or replace, legal, psychological and/or medical advice. 
Florida Patient Advocate is a program owned and operated 
by RK Care Group