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Tenets Of Confidentiality Within Case Management

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Tenets of Confidentiality within Case Management


One of the most frequently encountered ethical dilemmas case managers face are confidentiality issues. Case managers work very closely with their clients helping them through the most sensitive of personal issues. Respecting the privacy of their clients while upholding their ethical obligations to the law is a strict guideline that case managers must adhere to. This paper will examine the tenets of confidentiality as they apply to case managers. It will discuss when it is legal and appropriate to share information with third parties as well as when sharing this information is illegal.

Tenets of Confidentiality

Confidentiality is primarily an ethical concept that refers to the counselor's obligation to respect the client's privacy and to our promise to clients that the information they reveal during counseling will be protected from disclosure without their consent (Herlihy & Remley, 2005). This practice is very important for the relationship between client and case manager. Clients have to feel trusting of their case manager in order to be confident enough to share personal information. This is the foundation that the relationship is built upon. To build this foundation case managers must very clearly explain the laws and limitations to their clients. This should include disclaimers and limitations if any arise. Clients should thoroughly understand this information and provide a signed consent form before any case management takes place.

Legalities of Sharing Client Information

Circumstances may arise that test the moral and legal obligations of case managers. Clients build a very trusting relationship with their case managers and share information with them that can cross legal boundaries. Two examples of this type of information are when the client expresses intent to harm themselves or others or when the case manager is summoned by the court to release information about a client. The National Association of Social Workers Standards for Social Work Case Management reveals under standard number four:

In these circumstances the case manager shall seek appropriate consultation before disclosing any information not covered by the client's



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