For the purpose of recording the
above-mentioned areas of information, different forms of case records are
employed by the practitioners. Some are used more frequently than others.
Different types of records are used jointly or simultaneously because they complement
each other.Here are some of the different type of case recording
1- Process records:
They provide moment-by-moment
narrative of clients’ behaviour and interactions, between practitioners and
clients. Process records give almost verbatim account of each session or
encounter the worker with the client and/or others, and of home visits. Process
records also include the worker’s thoughts, opinions and feelings, although
they have to be specified as such and not as facts. This type of record is frequently
used in educational and supervisory processes and forms the basis of students’
2- Summary records:
These records are very important in
situation in which long-term, ongoing contact with a client, and a series of
workers may be involved. Summary records primarily include entry data,
sometimes social history, a plan of action and periodic summaries of
significant information and action taken by the worker, and a statement of what
was accomplished as the case was closed (closing summary). Periodic summaries
may be made at specified periods of time like every two months or after every 5
sessions or they may be made when it is necessary to document some fact or
action. It is focused more on what happens with the client rather than on the
worker’s inputs. Summaries may need to be updated from time to time.
3- Problem-oriented record:
These are particularly useful for social
workers employed in interdisciplinary settings like health care agencies. These
records contain four parts. First is the data base that contains information
pertinent to the client and work with the client. Second is a problem list that
includes a statement of initial complaints and assessment of the concerned
staff. Third are the plans and goals related to each identified problem. Fourth
are follow - up notes about what was done and the outcome of that activity.
Problem-oriented records usually consist of two forms: checklists; and a
narrative based on SOAP format, that is, subjective – patient’s report,
objective – facts as determined by clinical activity, assessment – a statement
about the nature of problem, and plan – for dealing with the problem.
4- Standardized forms:
These summarize client information using short
answers or checklists. These forms are developed by many agencies serving a
specific client group like the mentally challenged or ill or the abused and
battered, to get uniform set of relevant information. In recent years, more
structured and systematized forms of recording are being used for ordering
information, checking its validity, and drawing up and testing hypotheses.
5- Case Notes:
These are the records of worker’s
intuitive observations, reflections on treatment or interventions provided, and
mentions of critical or significant incidents. Reading through last week’s
notes may make the worker have certain expectations of ‘this week’s’ session.
Keeping notes helps him to remember particular details, and to plot the
progress of the client.Out-of-office
experiences, such as home visits, attending weddings or funerals, going on
hikes or for tea in a restaurant, taking a client to a medical or a
specialist’s appointment, and clinically meaningful incidental/chance
encounters are also included in case notes.
6- Log or Journal Entries:
Logs or journals can be very useful
in some fields of work. Someone who meets with a lot of different people in his
or her work might keep a log or journal as a personal record of meetings and
what was discussed. Note taking means jotting down details of meaningful
contacts, including important phone calls and important or clinically
significant collateral contacts, at the first opportunity. These
notes act as aids to memory or recall at the time of actual documentation.
Card Files: In some agencies, like
schools, data about the case work with a client are maintained on cards, which
can be easily retrieved and give thumbnail picture of the entire case work done
till then. Brief entries are made after each encounter and progress reviewed.
These are some of the forms in
which social workers may document case records. More than one form may
simultaneously be used for one client.
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