A level of care assessment, often abbreviated LOCA, is an introduction to a mental health practice where you’ll share about your struggles, so that your healthcare provider will know how to best meet your needs. The assessment is the best way for an organization to know where you’re at and how to help you. During the assessment, you’ll learn a little bit about the organization as they learn about you and the program that best matches your needs. Based on the assessment, an individualized treatment plan will be created that will most effectively help you on your way to a full and healthy life.
A level of care assessment may be confusing if you’ve never had one before. If you’re curious about what it’ll look like practically, or how to prepare yourself for one, here is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to a level of care assessment.
Step 1: Pat yourself on the back
You’re doing it. You’re getting the help you need to live a fulfilling life, and that act deserves praise in itself. Congratulations on being brave enough to embark on this journey, or being brave enough to help someone else start the process.
Step 2: Collect information and call
The first action step will be to call The Light Program at (610) 644-6464 – or to call your mental health treatment program of choice, to set up a level of care assessment. When you call, they’ll ask for some demographic information to get the process started. Most of the information they ask for, you’ll know off the top of your head (like your birth date and phone number), but you’ll also want to have information handy like your insurance policy number and medication names and dosages.
Step 3: Admissions interview
Don’t fret; this is nothing like a job interview. Aside from the information you’ve already gathered, you can address these questions off the top of your head and there are no wrong answers. During the call, someone from admissions will suggest the most appropriate program based on your answers to a few general questions. You’ll be connected to the appropriate program and able to schedule your level of care assessment.
Be honest about your needs. If you are having thoughts about harming yourself or someone else, share your intentions over the phone and you’ll be given more immediate intervention.
Step 4: Get set up for the level of care assessment
Set a reminder in your phone or jot down the date in your calendar. Make sure that you’ll have the time and space to engage in the level of care assessment. That might include hiring a babysitter or finding a space large enough to maintain conversational privacy. Although the assessment will happen online, treat it like an appointment. It will take about an hour and 30 minutes, so make sure you have that time set aside to focus on yourself and your own needs.
Step 5: Become familiar with BlueJeans video conferencing
After your appointment is scheduled, you’ll get an email with everything you need. Included in that email will be a HIPAA-compliant BlueJeans video conferencing link, as well as your login credentials. Check out the software before your appointment so you don’t have any last-minute worries. Ensure that your device has a stable connection and your internet connection is strong. You’ll need a device with a camera as well, so make sure you have a place to sit with good lighting.
Step 6: Participate in the assessment
Make sure you have time to get ready before, whether that’s changing into comfortable clothing or having water nearby. A clinician will take you through the level of care assessment and double-check your insurance. After the assessment, your level of care will be determined and you’ll find out the clinician’s recommendation. Your clinician at The Light Program may recommend one of a variety of programs that include outpatient (OP), intensive outpatient (IOP) or partial hospitalization (PHP). In the case that your needs are more significant or immediate than these programs are designed to address, you’ll be referred to a more appropriate service.
The professionals employed at The Light Program have your best interests at heart and are eager to support you. If you have anxiety about the process or are overwhelmed with questions, express your unrest with the admissions personnel or the clinician. They can walk you through these feelings and even make a more accurate program referral when you share this information.
When you’re ready to have us on your team, call (610) 644-6464 to get started with your level of care assessment process today.