For Professionals: Accessing Community Resources

111111The following information has been taken from the Understanding Infant Adoption Participant Handbook. The author of the handbook (Spaulding for Children) and Adoption STAR worked cooperatively for several years on the federally funded Infant Adoption Awareness Training Project.

“At first glance, identifying a community resource that meets an individual’s specific needs may be like looking for a needled in a haystack. There are, however, some helpful techniques that can be used to assess whether a resource is a good match for a particular patient/client.

Asking clarifying questions to help patients/clients hone in on their specific needs as much as possible is the first step in the referral process. This sets the stage for focused, productive communication with community agencies or resources on their behalf.

One key factor is whether the health care provider will make the referral directly to the resource or whether it will be necessary for the patient/client to obtain the information for him/herself. Regardless of what method is used, it is recommended that the individual be ‘coached’ to obtain information and assess its value, a skill that they can use in the future.

Most health care providers are aware of a number of community resources, either through personal networking contacts or though collecting business cards and agency brochures at conferences and meetings. These contacts can be used to narrow the search and identify a small number of resources that may work. Starting with ‘who you know’ is always a good idea. When looking for resources and supports, it is important to trust your feelings about the interactions. Developing a trusting relationship is key to being able to honestly discuss service needs and find a good match. Assessing the following issues can help:

  • Were you able to get through to the provider in a timely and easy manner?
  • Did you feel comfortable talking to the provider?
  • Did he/she treat you respectfully and confidentially?
  • Did he/she readily answer your questions about the range of services provided?
  • Did he/she respond to your specific needs or just talk generally about services?
  • Would you feel comfortable sending a patient/client to this community resource?”

Adoption STAR prides itself on being the “first choice” referral for countless healthcare and helping professionals when it comes to pregnancy options counseling, adoption information, and adoption planning. If you’ve never worked with us before, consider making a referral to us – we’d be honored to help your patients/clients.