Information for Health Professionals

As a health professional, or Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) worker, you will often be the crucial link between a person who needs help for their substance use issues, and the services offered by The Bridge Program.

The Bridge Program operates within a stepped care model of treatment. The first stage in this model is a conversation between you and your client about starting their recovery journey at any of the four identified phases of treatment – Intervention, Stablisation, Rehabilitation (intensive supports), and Maintenance. Following this, your client can be referred to us for a comprehensive assessment.

The Bridge Program Intake and Assessment Procedures have been developed on these four phases of care.

At this critical early stage of seeking help, people can often be in crisis. Before referring your client to us, you may need to triage your client’s distress by addressing immediate concerns including suicidality, mental health, or risk of homelessness.

Four Phases of Care

  1. Intervention

    • Book client referral and assessment
    • Conduct assessment
    • Brief interventions
    • Provide harm minimisation information
    • Strengthen motivation for change through MET
    • Contact client weekly, while waiting for allocation
  2. Stabilisation

    • Stabilise – address barriers to treatment, health and welfare needs
    • Identify Stage of Change
    • Develop pre-program treatment plan
    • Refer for Comprehensive Mental Health Assessment if required
    • Refer for physical health assessment if required
    • Initiate case management
    • Increase motivation for treatment
    • Book detox
  3. Rehabilitation

    • Establish therapeutic relationship
    • Negotiate and clarify goals for change
    • Develop change plan (Individual Treatment Plan)
    • Assess strengths and resources
    • Identify and involve family support/network
    • Address most pressing problems
    • Increase motivation for change
    • Assist in developing strategies
    • Develop maintenance plans
    • Facilitate access and entry to Phase Four
  4. Maintenance

    • Support motivation for maintenance of change
    • Negotiate and clarify roles
    • Implement maintenance plan
    • Continue case management, access to services
    • Establish and maintain rewarding drug-free relationships and activities
    • Facilitate spiritual development
    • Maintain mutual help group involvements

Referring Clients to the Bridge Program

You can refer clients to the Bridge at any time.

The intensity of treatment for each person within the program will depend on many factors, including:

  • the complexity of the client’s situation
  • the client’s protective and risk factors
  • the stage of change that the individual has reached
  • the person’s motivation for change.

Assessment process

All clients seeking admission to the Bridge Program must undergo a comprehensive assessment process, so we can match them to the most suitable services for their situation.

Admission to the Bridge Program is subject to a set of minimum requirements, which are considered on a case-by-case basis. Our Referring Agency Checklist describes these requirements in detail, and the interventions that you as the referrer may need to address.

Some clients may need all of these interventions, while others may not require any.

The assessment process includes:

Mental health

  • The client’s MMS score must be
  • People with a personality disorder must have a management plan in place.
  • All diagnosed conditions must be stabilised, with appropriate medication and/or therapies in place.
  • Suicide ideation must be assessed and a plan put in place, with the assistance of a psychologist.

Physical health

  • All diagnosed conditions should be documented and stabilised with medication.
  • A physical assessment should be completed for any undiagnosed conditions.

Stage of change

  • It is preferable that clients are in the contemplative stage of change, however, this will depend on the complexity and severity of each person’s needs. This will be discussed during the admission process.

You can help prepare your client for treatment by:

  • Identifying, or discussing with your client, which interventions from the checklist are most appropriate for their situation (treatment matching).
  • Identifying any barriers to treatment (risk factors), such as homelessness, legal issues, relationship issues, mental health issues, or suicide risk.
  • Identifying any protective factors or strengths that will increase your client’s motivation and confidence for change.
  • Commencing case management treatment plans for any identified risks.

View our Referring Agency Checklist here.


Mental health issues (diagnosed or undiagnosed
  • Mental health stabilised
  • Medication schedules in place
  • Comprehensive mental health assessment, or treating psychologist or psychiatrist report
  • Safety plan in place
  • Refer to GP for mental health care plan
  • Assistance in obtaining treating psychologist / psychiatrist report
Physical health
  • Client is well enough to care for themselves and participate in the program
  • Medication is stabilised and scripts have been obtained
  • In some cases, a medical assessment by the Bridge Program’s nurse practitioner may be required
Refer to GP for assessment and medication as required
  • Unplanned exit strategy in place (assess risk of discharge into homelessness)
  • Assist person to register with local real estate agents and Colony 47
  • Case manager to commence accommodation support
Legal issues
  • Disclosure of any major court appearances and / or excessive legal appointments that may interfere with the person’s ability to concentrate and work in the program
  • Disclosure of any existing bail conditions
Obtain copy of pending court dates and other documents (legal appointments, bail and parole conditions, Family Violence Orders
Anger management / distress intolerance / history of violence or aggressive behaviour
  • Management plans and behavioural agreements are in place
  • Person has documented strategies to manage anger / distress
  • Arrange individual CBT / counselling sessions if required
Refer to, or confirm current participation in, anger management sessions or groups
Domestic violence
  • Confirm details of any existing AVOs
  • Identify trauma
  • Risk assessment – living in residential facility

For more information, please contact us.