Demystifying Case Management in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Scoping and Mapping Review

Caroline Stretton, Wei Yen Chan, Dianne Wepa

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number784
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the AUT University, Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences Summer Student Grant 2021/2022 and the School of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Studies PBRF Funding 2021. The APC charge is covered by the School of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Studies PBRF 2022.

Funding Information:
The PCC framework was used to identify the population (P), concepts (C) and context (C) of this study [] and help develop the overall research question and inclusion criteria. The population of interest included people who were currently working as case managers or performing case management work in NZ. Drawing on the work of Lukersmith [] we adapted a definition for the NZ context and in this review defined a case manager as a named person or team, who provides continuity of care, and plans and organizes the coordination of health care services. Key concepts of this review were: job titles, continuity of care [], the purpose of each role [], and the specific actions undertaken by case managers [], and relationships that case managers had with clients, other health care workers and organisations across the health and social sector (See and for more detail the glossary A). We looked for any sources which contained information describing any of these concepts for health-related case management services for clients living in the community. A role was considered ‘health-related’ if the service received any funding from the Ministry of Health. The study focused on community health settings. We chose this context to enable comparison with the review of Lukersmith [], and because we anticipated case managers in the community would have more diverse social networks than those who have clients who are still inpatient hospital and residential settings.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


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