I am a Social Worker, and my job title is Assessor/Coordinator.
I work with Community Health Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services and my office is located at the Hospital. My job is to review all the referrals for counseling from family Physicians, Psychiatrists, Health Care Professionals, schools, family, Government departments, and SGI. Clients also may self refer for mental health or addiction counseling. The Assessor Coordinator coordinates appointments for clients based on urgency and need for the following programs: Child and Youth, Mental Health, Addictions and Community Mental Health Nursing. The Assessor Coordinator contacts the client and discusses the nature of the referral and confirms the client is consenting for services. Clients range in age from 6 – 100. The assessor coordinator will triage the level of urgency by using a standardized screening tool below.
If a client is assessed at:
The Assessor Coordinator will schedule an appointment time based on the triage level. The Assessor Coordinator is a vital component of the health care team because they are the centralized point of entry for client assessment, triage, and assignment of a worker. The Assessor Coordinator helps families and clients better understand the services available, while assisting individuals through what can be an overwhelming process. Assessor Coordinators are instrumental in the continual work flow for other health care professionals because the Assessor Coordinator schedules appointments in a timely manner for clients ensuring the effective use of health care resources.
The credentials can vary depending on the type of work being done, but typically Assessor Coordinators hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, Nursing, Psychology, Physical Therapy, or Occupational Therapy.
I work at a Hospital in small Saskatchewan town.
The image of the client served by our department, and specifically by an Assessor Coordinator, is representative of all people; it is likely that almost everyone in Canada will be affected by a loved one’s or their own mental illness, mental health, or addiction problem. Mental health and addiction problems cut across all socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, age groups, and genders. Clients’ needs vary which is why the Assessor Coordinator must listen carefully to the client to hear what their needs are in order to determine the most appropriate and timely service. The Assessor Coordinator must be knowledgeable of community services and health care programs to ensure that clients are getting the service they need.
My favorite part of the job is connecting with clients and their families because clients need to feel understood. Listening to a grieving widow, supporting a frustrated parent, and negotiating a safety plan for someone contemplating suicide are just some examples of what an Assessor Coordinator manages and prioritizes throughout the day.
One challenge I have in my job is a lack of staff coverage on my days off. Currently the position is only covered during holidays when casual staff are available to come in. Often times there are no staff to cover the position, therefore the position is left vacant and the work does not get done until I return. It is difficult to recruit for a casual position because the position is demanding and staff generally move on to full time positions.
Another challenge is when there are vacancies in clinician positions and clients are placed on waiting lists until staff are hired.
Additional challenges include little orientation or training for new Assessor Coordinators. New Assessor Coordinator orientation is one day of job shadowing to learn the position. In addition, there is no clinical supervision of the position to allow for constructive feedback of new workers.
Staff shortages create high-risk situations where front-line staff are put in the position of having to deal with clinical matters which they have no training for.
The consequence is service interruption for clients and clinicians until the Assessor Coordinator returns. The receptionist receives disgruntled phone calls from clients wondering why no one is calling clients back.