PROGRAMS | Service Development - Bilingual Case Management Program

The Bilingual Case Management Program was established in 1996 with Inner West, Mid West, North West and South West Area Mental Health Services. It was a response to a client consultation which identified the employment of bilingual staff as a strong preference of clients. Its aim was to overcome deficiencies in mental health service delivery to NESB people.

Eleven bilingual staff (who speak Croatian, Greek, Italian, Turkish and Vietnamese) are employed in case management positions in Community Care teams at the four above-mentioned area mental health services. Their roles include clinical case management with clients from the same ethnic background as well as other backgrounds, secondary consultation to other staff, family education and support and community education.

A rigorous evaluation was undertaken by the VTPU. The evaluation indicated the following outcomes:

Compared to other NESB clients, those seeing bilingual case managers had:

  • Better compliance with medication
  • Lower rates of depot medication (through injections)
  • Greater satisfaction with the service, including its cross-cultural sensitivity
  • Greater contact with case managers
  • Less contact with Crisis Assessment and Treatment Teams
  • For Vietnamese clients, less hospital use
  • Better long-term improvement in social functioning.
Service Outcomes

Rates of contact with the services per head of population increased over three years for all groups, by 18.8% for the Australian born, 16,8% for the language groups and by 12.3% for other ethnic groups.
Cost savings have been estimated at $57,000 per year for reduced hospital stays for Vietnamese clients.
Program outcomes are documented in "Evaluation of the Bilingual Case Management Program" Ziguras et al (2000) which is available from the VTPU.

Ongoing Developments in Bilingual Case Management

Due to the success of the Bilingual Case Management Program, the VTPU is engaged in facilitating the expansion of this program to other Adult Area Mental Health Services - both statewide and interstate as well as to Child and Adolescent and Aged Mental health Services who have identified a need for this model within their services. If you are interested in developing a similar program, please contact the VTPU Service Development team.