There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.
— Audre Lorde
People often turn to nonprofit organizations and agencies for help when they’re struggling to overcome complex and deeply sensitive situations like trauma, poverty and mental health issues. But the barriers to receiving that help can exacerbate already intense feelings. Often, vulnerable individuals who need help are asked to jump through several hoops to receive care.
Participants often tell and retell their stories to each organization and sometimes multiple caseworkers at each agency. Different programs may require different intake forms or use disparate logic models. Unfortunately, doing this can be an emotional, tense and critical time for those seeking help. And have multiple people to talk to and forms to fill out can often lead to participants not getting the care they need and slipping through the cracks.
So, how can social good organizations relieve some of this pressure? They can ensure they get a complete view of each participant’s journey: Why is this person here, and what do they need to be successful outside of their organization? The ultimate goal, of course, is to provide a journey of connected care to prevent anyone from falling through the cracks. That’s where closed-loop referrals can help change people’s lives for the better.
Participants seek help from organizations for various reasons, including homelessness, health issues, family trauma, abuse, mental health concerns and more. They contact an organization and ask for services.
Let’s say this organization provides homelessness services for women. The organization asks the client to fill out an intake form to get a complete picture of her situation. They can help secure emergency housing, counseling and some essentials. But, most times, several urgent needs overlap and create a complex web of needs that a single organization cannot meet. In this case, the client is also fleeing a physically abusive partner. She’s worried about being found and needs legal support and therapy. A caseworker begins the referral process.
The case manager reaches out via phone or email to either established referral partners or organizations they don’t yet have a relationship with. In this situation, the case manager talks to a representative from a domestic abuse organization to ensure that organization can provide additional services to the client.
Once the homelessness organization successfully refers the client to the domestic abuse organization, the first organization is no longer “in the know” about the client’s full care plan. The client is asked to fill out a separate intake form before receiving services at the second organization.
The more organizations involved, the more room it creates for people to slip through the cracks.
From the client’s perspective, getting help can feel bureaucratic and burdensome. According to a McKinsey report, individuals with poor mental health are about twice as likely to report not receiving the healthcare they need and 2.5 times as likely to have multiple unmet social needs. Why? Here are some possible reasons:
Organizations need a more efficient, safe and easy way to work with other community organizations.
Social Solutions’ new Closed-Loop Referrals feature helps bridge the gap between community-based organizations (CBOs). By working together, organizations are able to provide better care by creating a more connected environment. This functionality keeps staff more organized, aware and secure—making it more likely that participants will receive the care they need and succeed in their journey. When CBOs have the same visibility into a client’s journey, the people providing services for that client can be on the same page. The outcome? Clients receive better services fueled by accurate and up-to-date shared data.
This evolution of care allows clients to go from one CBO to another as needed with ease. With Closed-Loop Referrals, secure referrals are seamless and allow CBOs to connect and collaborate fully. This level of service provides clients with life-changing feelings of security, support and care.
Apricot’s Closed-Loop Referrals capabilities shine an extraordinary light on the intricacies and coordination needed to address these challenging but critically important issues in communities. This functionality has the power to change how organizations coordinate care for participants across the community, ensuring vulnerable people don’t fall through the cracks. Closed-Loop Referrals enable CBOs to:
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