Sharing information on services/options with the client
How do you share information with the client about available services/options to assist them in determining a course of action and setting goals?
When you have a clear understanding of your client’s immediate needs, the next step is to look at the following with the client:
- What support resources can be provided?
- Who can provide the resources?
- How will they be provided?
- Will the client be able to access them? (Is the client eligible for that particular service delivery option?)
- What is the process for introducing the client to the resources? (Will a formal interview be required? Should you or someone else attend with the client? Is an initial phone call or email required?)
Looking for the right program/activity/resource with a client often means you have to go outside your own agency and refer your client to another agency or service. There is little point in identifying programs and activities to meet your client’s needs if your client cannot access these programs/resources.
Read the case study below and then the reflection that follows.
Otto finds out that a live-in program for young people with drug problems is operating in a nearby town. He informs his client, Justin, about this program, gives him a pamphlet about it and tells him that another worker received good feedback about the program’s success rate. Justin is keen to give it a try and wants to start immediately, before he loses his nerve.
Otto and Justin include this program in Justin’s action plan. Otto spends considerable time encouraging Justin’s commitment to stop taking drugs and preparing him for his time in the live-in program. Otto rings the program’s coordinator to book Justin in, only to find that the waiting time to enter the program is four to six months. Otto realises that he should have checked the availability of resources for this program, as well as checking its suitability for his client.
Reflect on how you might deal with this situation and make some notes in your reflective journal. As you work through this unit, you may like to add strategies and methods used to deal with this and other situations.
You can take a number of steps that will help you make sure your client’s needs are matched with the best resources available. This is shown in the following figure.
When there is a range of possible options (or, at least, more than one available option), it is very important that the client is informed about what these options can and cannot offer them and the possible implications of each.
It is possible that the client will still need more information before making a final decision; this could mean supporting them to list the questions that they need answered and then finding ways to get those questions answered. This could be achieved through:
- a telephone inquiry
- arranging an interview to speak to someone
- advocating on their behalf if required.