Referrers do not use their influence to create natural consequences if the client doesn’t show.
Collaborate with referrers who have the authority to follow up when clients miss an assessment appointment or treatment sessions.
Brandywine Counseling in Wilmington, Delaware increased continuation rates from 45 percent to 89 percent in three months by sending letters to probation officers and family service workers so that the referrer would be informed and help re-engage their clients in treatment. Re-engagement rates for probation outpatients increased from 41 percent to 53 percent when the probation officer also received a letter. Re-engagement rates for clients referred by family services increased from 14 percent to 43 percent in the first month. They asked Probation Officers if they would collaborate without penalizing clients when they dropped out of treatment. Case managers also started making follow-up phone calls to outpatients who did not show up for their first step group.
Kentucky River Community Care (KRCC) in Jackson, Kentucky increased the percentage of clients who completed the transition from the hospital-based psychiatric services unit where they were detoxed to the next level of care, including outpatient, residential, and long-term care, from 30-38 percent to 56 percent. They worked with referral sources to make sure that clients who were referred actually contacted the agency and showed up for the first appointment. They let referral sources know by phone or letter if a client did not show.
Data Collection Forms
Repeat this series of steps until you have forged collaborative working relationships with your most frequent referral sources or referral sources with whom you want to develop stronger relationships.
St. Christopher’s Inn in Garrison, New York cultivated relationships with unions and union employee assistance programs (EAPs). The person making the referral actually brought the men to the treatment program. For more information, see the St. Christopher’s Inn EAP.
Daybreak Youth Services in Spokane, Washington set minimum standards around contact with referrers: the intake counselor calls the referrer on the day of admission to inform them of the admission; the primary counselor makes contact within 24 hours to exchange information and set up the protocol for treatment updates; and, the primary counselor always calls within the last two weeks of treatment to set up aftercare sessions, report on progress, and make recommendations.
Connecticut Renaissance, Inc. in Bridgeport, Connecticut worked with referral sources to follow up when clients missed appointments. If the treatment agency had no contact with a client for three weeks, they met with the referrer to discuss the client’s treatment needs and referral mandates. For more information, see the Connecticut Renaissance business case.