A systematic review of the international disaster case management literature in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
As the prospects for more mega-disasters like Hurricane Katrina loom for the future, it is clear that better linkages between the international social work and emergency management communities will be needed, not only to improve disaster recovery outcomes, but also to strengthen service delivery systems, and ultimately promote resilience in our communities.
Disaster case management is increasingly being employed to support disaster recovery for individuals and families, and to promote community recovery and resilience. While direct service providers in disaster situations may come from a variety of disciplines, the social work profession provides a value base, principles, and techniques to manage the complexities of human recovery, and effectively navigate the service delivery systems established to support disaster survivors. This review synthesised the available evidence about the importance and effectiveness of disaster social work and case management on a global basis. However, while the review elucidated a number of important findings, the authors were unable to establish any direct links between Hurricane Katrina and the resulting policies, procedures, and practices of international disaster social workers and case managers. The inability to establish such a link is most likely attributed to the general paucity of research on the subject matter, as well as the inherent tendency among disaster researchers to focus their analyses on specific events and their immediate impacts on local and/or regional systems.