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Make a Referral

Referrals to all teams (except those to the Primary Mental Health Team) may be made by any person including family, carers, a self-referral, General Practitioners, schools, other agencies. The rostered duty worker will receive requests for service and a response will be made depending on the assessed level of urgency. Referrals to the Primary Mental Health Team occur via your General Practitioner directly to the team.

To make a referral

Referrals can be made 24 hours a day 7 days a week by phoning 1800 808 284

You will need to specify the name and age of the person being referred. There are three options for making a referral during business hours:

  • In person:

    Request to speak with a duty worker in the Warrnambool, Camperdown, Hamilton or Portland offices.

  • In writing:

    Address a letter or fax to the duty worker in any of the regional team offices or at the Warrnambool office.

  • By telephone:

    Request to speak with the duty worker in any of the regional team offices or in Warrnambool.

After-hours in an emergency

7.30 pm—8.30 am Monday to Friday, 24 hours during weekends and public holidays.

The After-hours Emergency Service is a crisis emergency service provided by trained mental health services staff.

The After Hours Emergency Response Service can be contacted:

Free call: 1800 808 284

All after-hours assessments occur in an environment that is safe for the consumer and staff member. This is usually at the emergency department of the local hospital, and may involve the use of videoconference. After hours assessment in a person’s home do not occur unless at the request of, and in the company of, the police, as a strategy to ensure safety.

Out of area mental health inpatient admission requests

From time to time, and subject the bed availability, the Acute Inpatient Unit may be able to welcome Out of Area Admissions.

To ascertain the availability of a bed, the referring mental health service should phone 1800 808 284 to speak with the South West Healthcare Access Team.

The Access Team will usually be able to confirm within the hour whether an out of area admission is possible. If clinical demand dictates that the 1 hour target timeframe cannot be met, the referring agency will be advised of a revised timeframe.

If an admission is possible, the referring agency will be asked to complete an Inpatient Admission Request form

Once completed the Inpatient Admission request, along with all other required patient information, is to be faxed to (03) 5563 1223 (Attention: Shift Leader).

The Acute Inpatient Unit Shift Leader will then liaise with the On-call Psychiatrist, who will confirm eligibility for admission, and advise the Referring Service of the outcome.

If the transfer is accepted, the Referring Mental Health Service is responsible to facilitate the transport for transfer and advise the Acute Inpatient Unit of the estimated time of arrival.

  • Information to provide for referral

    When making a referral the following information, to the best of your knowledge, will be useful:

    •  Personal details of person being referred and details of significant others such as closest family or a supportive friend
    • Whether or not the person is aware they are being referred
    • Current problems or symptoms that may indicate mental illness
    • Whether this is a new or ongoing problem
    • Risk of the person hurting themselves or hurting other people or property.
    • How the problems are affecting the person in their day to day life e.g. sleep, work, appetite
    • Current medications
    • Drug/alcohol use
    • Whether there are other agencies involved in the persons care who may be able to give us further information such as their General Practitioner or other organisations.
  • After a referral

    Following referral to Mental Health Services, there are a number of specific steps and stages of assessment and treatment.

    Assessment
    This is the process of examining current needs and problems and determining diagnosis. This may involve more than one appointment.  At this point the best agency to meet the needs will be considered, and if not Mental Health Services, we can provide support to reach the most appropriate service.

    Treatment Planning and Delivery
    A clinical therapist will assist consumers and, where appropriate, their families to make decisions about treatment and recovery. This plan and associated treatments (including medicines and psychological treatments) will be reviewed periodically throughout treatment by talking about it and by measuring the outcomes with questionnaires and further assessments.

    Transition to Self Management
    The processes of closing the episode of care occurs when someone has achieved their treatment goals and is aware of strategies to manage their own health into the future, or when they leave South West Victoria. With consent we will let others involved in your care that we are no longer providing services.  Transition to self management, is never final and people can be re-referred should they need further mental health assessment and treatment in the future.

    Wellbeing Measures
    Wellbeing measures are assessments of overall functioning. They are completed throughout treatment to show changes in a health status over time. There are several measures a clinical therapist will complete several times a year as well as self-assessments that consumers and their carers are encouraged to complete.

    These measures help to assess how treatment is progressing, and gives consumers and their carers an opportunity to formally provide advice on how they feel treatment is progressing. We are required by the State and Commonwealth Governments to complete these measures. All information is confidential unless we are mandated to notify authorities (such as if a child is at risk of harm, for example).

Page last updated: 11 January 2021

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