Demystifying Case Management in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Scoping and Mapping Review
Background: Community-based case managers in health have been compared to glue which holds the dynamic needs of clients to a disjointed range of health and social services. However, case manager roles are difficult to understand due to poorly defined roles, confusing terminology, and low visibility in New Zealand. Aim: This review aims to map the landscape of case management work to advance workforce planning by clarifying the jobs, roles, and relationships of case managers in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ). Methods: Our scoping and mapping review includes peer-reviewed articles, grey literature sources, and interview data from 15 case managers. Data was charted iteratively until convergent patterns emerged and distinctive roles identified. Results: A rich and diverse body of literature describing and evaluating case management work in NZ (n = 148) is uncovered with at least 38 different job titles recorded. 18 distinctive roles are further analyzed with sufficient data to explore the research question. Social ecology maps highlight diverse interprofessional and intersectoral relationships. Conclusions: Significant innovation and adaptations are evident in this field, particularly in the last five years. Case managers also known as health navigators, play a pivotal but often undervalued role in NZ health care, through their interprofessional and intersectoral relationships. Their work is often unrecognised which impedes workforce development and the promotion of person-centered and integrated health care.