Translating case management in a service for older people in Berlin

John Crossland

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Case management is a coordinating process designed to align service provision more closely to the identified needs of people requiring assistance in the context of complex care systems. It is an approach that has crossed the borders of different national welfare systems where it has been adopted to address ostensibly similar problems. This empirically based but primarily methodological article draws on the author's doctoral research during which he spent an extended period in Berlin investigating a citywide case management service for older people in the context of German long-term care policy and legislation. It explores the extent to which a specific case study can illuminate how case management adapts in differing national welfare systems and highlights the particular methodological challenges of ‘translation’ and ‘equivalence’ in cross-national research. The article outlines how institutional context both shaped and constrained the Berlin case management service and highlights the necessity in cross-country research for a critical contextual examination of apparently similar features. This is particularly relevant where English words and expressions are directly absorbed into the local language, an important yet rarely addressed complicating factor.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)62-77
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date18 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • case management
  • comparative approaches
  • translation
  • older people


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