Thursday, September 9, 2010

Looking for Help in Other Agencies aka Referrals

The nature of case management means breadth of services. Connecting clients with health services they need, making sure they're getting public aid benefits they're eligible for, helping them locate housing programs, going on occasional excursions to public aid/doctor/lawyer appointments, work with them on budgeting, being a listening ear, and so on.

I've written before about my challenge in asking other staff members for help. I still need to find a time to sit down with my supervisor Feona and look at what I am able to work on with my more demanding clients and where I need to refer them for outside services. For various reasons I haven't been able to sit down with her do this. For one client I have managed to work out a system that other staff helps me with ongoing tasks but I need to discuss Feona how to deal with my other 5 demanding clients. I know in some cases this will mean referring them to other agencies for some services and I know I need to realize that really there's nothing wrong with that.

Problem is I keep thinking I will be able to take care of ongoing tasks and that if I keep at it the flow will slow down. Yet my caseload continues to be around the mid 30s and it's not like we're not accepting new clients into the supportive housing program. I am referring folks out to other agencies for specific programs but usually by their request.

I realize I also try to help outside of the typical scope of what my program does, like try and help clients (who're caught in a difficult situation and ask for this help) find alternative housing while it's not something we typically do. Yet I need to remind myself other agencies help with these services. In some situations I should be suggesting to clients to search for help in other agencies earlier on. I don't mean open my office door to let them out and wish them luck but refer them to specific organizations. I also need to remind myself that I'm not able to concentrate 40% of my time on five clients because it's not fair to my other clients.

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