Systematic review of case management

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;41(1):2-9. doi: 10.1080/00048670601039831.


The purpose of the present paper was to review the current state of evidence for types of case management, focusing on the last 10 years since publication of the Cochrane Systematic Reviews of case management and assertive community treatment. A literature review of electronic databases from 1995 to the present to identify recent research on psychiatric case management, both original studies and reviews, was carried out. Original articles were organized on basis of year of study, experimental group and outcome variables to determine patterns. Sixty relevant papers were located. Thirty-nine are reports of experimental trials of types of case management and 21 are reviews or discussion papers. The focus of research is on assertive community treatment or intensive case management, with only five papers on other forms of less intense case management. Numerous outcomes have been examined, of those examined often enough to draw meaningful conclusions only one, engagement with services, has been consistently positive. All other outcomes have produced mixed results. The strength of findings in favour of case management has weakened over time. A heterogeneous group of experimental designs limits comparisons. Numerous issues with methodology and definitions of types of case management have beset research in this field. Assertive types of case management (including assertive community treatment and intensive case management) are more effective than standard case management in reducing total number of days spent in hospital, improving engagement, compliance, independent living and patient satisfaction. More important than the type of service configuration is to understand the clinical criteria of the services provided and their effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Case Management* / economics
  • Community Mental Health Services / economics
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / economics
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • United Kingdom