Stress. We all feel it, especially when life starts to transition and change. Attempting to find assistance with housing, employment, healthcare, or legal services is difficult and complex; often, service organizations are disconnected, siloed and resource-strapped – adding more stress to an already stressful situation.
We can begin to fix this by adopting a modern technology approach to providing human services that speak to the experiences of the consumers and those delivering the assistance. It’s not only a technology fix or a community fix, it takes both, working together to minimize frustration and to finally put people at the center of their own care.
So where do we start? Below are 5 steps Unite US believes offer a new way of delivering social services.
Step 1: There needs to be No Wrong Door – Our research and data taken from our networks in New York, NY (NYServes), Charlotte, North Carolina (NCServes) and Pittsburgh, PA (PAServes) shows that most individuals who are transitioning in life, like Veterans re-entering the civilian world, need more than one social service when they are seeking help. Regardless if the individual requires healthcare and employment and housing assistance, they shouldn’t have to worry about struggling to find the right contact. Resources DO exist to support their needs so why does a door have to close in anyone’s face? In a coordinated network, every service organization is a point of entry and community partners are connected to one another, enabling resources to be more easily found and accessed. Networks create organization, help client eligibility become more seamlessly matched with the right provider and starts to take some of that stress off of the client.
Step 2: Readily available, online access – In today’s world, consumers are accessing everything from their news to their bank account to their doctor with digital lines of communication. Why should social services be any different? Irregular office hours, busy waiting rooms and just the thought of antiquated lines of communication could make you break out in a sweat. A common platform with the right software tools allows service providers to do their job in record time and results in the capture of more client data and the ability to reference that information on demand. Now, the team of practitioners supporting an individual can work together; optimizing care and outcomes for their shared client.
Step 3: Understand the client’s needs entirely and create referrals – Service organizations are there to help members of the community and it’s understandable wanting to be the “one-stop-shop.” But it hasn’t proven to be effective; one social worker or organization cannot do it all. Organizations lose the ability to focus on their key strengths as they expand to be reasonably good at everything. Coordinated networks establish an organized web of care to allow social workers and organizations to easily refer their clients to reliable partners who invest in the core strengths of their programs. Collaboration spurs the interconnection of trusted Network service providers, making sure no one falls through the cracks.
Step 4: You made the referral, rest easy with tracked results – How many people are being assisted? What resource needs should the community prioritize? If your city or state doesn’t know this information, how can they help? Unite US technology removes the guesswork and delivers data to Network members and community leaders, so the needs of the public can be assessed and organizations can begin on focusing on areas that need improvement.
Step 5: The forever after means optimized service for everyone involved – Accountability is a critical factor in ensuring that whoever is assisting a particular individual actually follows through with what they say they’re going to do, and that their success is directly measured against meeting their needs and the needs of the wider community. Collectively, organizations within a community can make an impact and move the needle by optimizing service starting at the individual level.
The bottom line is that community involvement, collaboration and technology are driving a new, streamlined approach to delivering social services – reducing stress and putting the individual or their loved ones at the center of their own care.
Want to find a service organization in your community? Start here.