Referral Pathway

This suggested flowchart is based on the Department of Health and Human Service’s Key messages flowchart Part A, which was adapted with permission from Snowdon J, Halliday G, 2009. More detailed information is also available in their Practical resources for service providers.


Step 1: Referral or initial contact

Obtain background information, including potential OHS issues.

Is there any known risks to workers? (e.g animals, violent behaviour)

Consider your agency’s Occupational Health and Safety policy to ensure your own safety.


Step 2: Identify, contact and plan with other service providers before a home visit.


Building (inside, outside, structures, ownership, utilities)

People (clinical, capacity, health, dependents, disability)

Animals (pets, livestock, wildlife, pests).

Please contact Services directly to determine individual service eligibility and capacity to assist.


Step 3: Home or property visit and assessment

The home visit will include the assessment of the following aspects.

Degree of clutter or squalor

See Resources for some of the assessment scales available.


Is the person at risk to themselves (eg suicide or self harm)?

Is there a risk to others (behaviour, threats made)?

Is there a risk to children?

Is there a risk to animals?

If risk is immediate or life threatening: phone 000,  or for dependents (protective services; aged care services; animal services).

Mental health

Does the client have a mental illness?


Holistic assessment that includes: physical, mental, social, living skills, financial, housing.


Is the person refusing an assessment?

Do you have concerns about their capacity to make decisions (eg finances, life decisions)

Yes or don’t know: go to Refusing Services and Capacity

Existing services

If the client has any existing supports or services involved get details and consent from the client to contact them directly for joint planning.

For further information related to assessment please go to Training Materials. 


Step 4: Joint action planning

Convene or suggest a meeting with other relevant services to plan a coordinated service response.

Establish a shared action plan that identifies the tasks and roles of each agency using the Department of Health’s Shared action plan.

For further information on effective intervention go to Training Materials.


Step 5: Follow up and long term planning

Ensure appropriate ongoing service support (e.g case management, cleaning, mental health services)  to optimise significant change and maintain the condition of property.