Information and Referral

  • resources-information-492x270Information & referral (I&R) is the basic and usually first service used to gain access to needed health and human services, benefits and resources.
  • Most service agencies provide I&R services to some extent, usually within the scope of their specific area of expertise.
  • PACS and similar providers of general community I&R services are unique because they have broader knowledge of the health and human services system as well as access to resource databases with detailed program information.
  • Trained I&R staff are skilled at:
    • Assessing needs of callers (by telephone, in person, email)
    • Helping them determine options and the best course of action.
    • Intervening in crisis situations
    • Acting as advocates do people get connected to the proper resources

I&R requests may be simple and require only phone numbers, locations or hours of an agency’s operations. But many needs are complex. Requesters can explain the problems they experienced but may be unable to see workable solutions. PAC’s staff members work to clarify the needs, identify as many resources as may be helpful and assist the requester in developing a plan to contact resources and arrange help. For people who need it, staff can also assist with making those contacts.

Follow-up with clients is also provided to assure that people have been connected with help to meet their needs. If referrals did not result in resolving the original needs, or if new needs are identified during the follow-up, the staff member provides further assistance to help the person find some solution. Occasionally needs that can not be met for some reason are identified. These “unmet needs” are documented and, whenever possible, PACS attempts to find or encourage development of new resources to meet the most difficult problems.