How to set up a cross-referral system

People living with HIV and AIDS and their families need many different forms of support and care. It is very important that they are able to get easy access to and clear information about available services. This guide deals with setting up a referral system and has the following sections:

  1. What is a referral system
  2. How to set up a referral system

  1. What is a referral system

When someone with HIV and AIDS or a member of their family comes to one project or service for help, they should also be given access to all other services that can benefit them. A referral system is one way to make sure this happens.

Your area may have projects like support groups, food parcels and home care for people with HIV and AIDS. When a teacher finds out that a child is looking after ill parents, there must be a system in place to make sure that family gets support from all the other projects.

  1. How to set up a referral system

Set up a data base

All projects and services should work together in the relevant task teams. Part of the work of each task team should be to build up a list of people who need support in each part of the community. The names will come from different services and projects.

The different task teams must share names since a family may be getting home-based care, but children may not be getting grants.It is important for people from different task teams to come together every few months and to compare their lists.

List all services

A second important task for the LAC is to build up a list of all services and projects that can help families in need. This list with contact details should be published and given to people when they come to any of the projects for help. Keep the information very simple and clear and always say what a project or service can offer. All projects and services should use the list so that they can send people elsewhere for further help.

Each project or service should make a card for each person or family receiving support. On this card, there should be space to show whether the person or family has been referred to other projects for help.

Here is an example of a referral list

Medical treatment:Places you can go for help:
The Clinic
6th Avenue
Open 7am – 7pm
Contact: Sister Makwetla
23 6548
Mandela Hospital
Main Road
Contact: Sister Lekau
23 4532
People who are ill at home and need care: 
Home-based care project
Catholic Church
Main Road
Contact: Father Peters
23 6453
The Hospice
Beaufort Street
Contact Mrs Malan
Phone: 23 4563
The Clinic
6th Avenue
Open 7am – 7pm
Contact: Sister Makwetla
23 6548
Government grants:Children in need of care
Department Social Development
Community Centre
Contact: Mrs Ndebele
23 8976
Child Welfare Society
Church street
Contact: Mrs Naidoo
23 4532
Food parcels:Vegetable growing:
Batho Pele Project
Community centre
Contact: Mr Ndude
23 9877
Food club
Agricultural centre
Contact: Mr Twale
no phone
Emotional support:
People living with HIV and AIDS
Contact through clinic, social worker
Or advice office
Legal advice
Advice office
Thembalethu shop 17
Contact Thabo
23 8956

Here is an example of a card that can be used to set up your list of people in need:

ORGANISATION/SERVICE _____________________Staff name _______________________Case number _________ Date __________Client Name _____________________Address            _____________________________
(be sensitive that some people may want to be anonymous at first) Describe problem  
List needs ___________________________________________________________________Family details – children, parents, income, health ___________________________________________________________________
Action list:
List support given? Describe the advice and referral given? What follow up is needed?