Aftercare, or continuing care, is the stage following discharge, when the client no longer requires services at the intensity required during primary treatment. A client is able to function using a self-directed plan, which includes minimal interaction with a counselor. Counselor interaction takes on a monitoring function. Clients continue to reorient their behavior to the ongoing reality of a pro-social, sober lifestyle. Aftercare can occur in a variety of settings, such as periodic outpatient aftercare, relapse/recovery groups, 12-Step and self-help groups, and halfway houses. Whether individuals completed primary treatment in a residential or outpatient program, they have at least some of the skills to maintain sobriety and begin work on remediating various areas of their lives. Work is intrapersonal and interpersonal as well as environmental. Areas that relate to environmental issues, such as vocational rehabilitation, finding employment, and securing safe housing, fall within the purview of case management.
Because case managers interact with the client in the community, they are in a unique position to see the results of work being done in aftercare groups and provide perspective about the client's functioning in the community. Recent findings suggest that the case management relationship may be as valuable to the client during this phase of recovery as that with the addictions counselor (Siegal et al., 1997; Godley et al., 1994). Aftercare is important in completing treatment both from a funding standpoint (many funders refuse to pay for aftercare services), as well as from the client's perspective.