Episode 19

A Professional Approach to Report Writing for Clients


April 26th, 2019

20 mins

Season 1

Your Hosts

About this Episode

The content of every call to a crisis or distress line is recorded by the call responder. It is important that that the information recorded is done in a manner that is easily understood by the centre’s supervisor as well as other responders who may be receiving similar calls or who may want to learn from them. It is equally important to realize that reports can be subpoenaed by outside professionals as well as the client/caller themselves. According to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, every individual has the right to access to any information about themselves contained in a personal information bank in the custody or under control of the institution. All call responders and their written reports need to observe legislative requirements under the Privacy Act, and ensure confidentiality of the caller and those that the caller may disclose information about is maintained. The information collected should be information that is relevant to the service being provided. In the presentation by Lynn Brewin, Learning and Development Coordinator for Distress Centres Ontario, you will learn strategies to keep in mind when writing a call report. She will review the difference between subjective and objective writing and how to write without making judgemental statements. Quality report writing reflects your level of professionalism; it is testament of how well you perform as a call responder. Questions for Further Consideration: After reviewing the difference between subjective and objective writing, how would you describe your method of writing call reports? It takes a bit of practice to get a handle of how to write in an objective manner. Becoming aware of this approach is the first step. If someone else reads your report and wonders, “How do you know exactly what the caller was feeling or thinking?” then perhaps you need to change the wording. The change in wording can be as easy as writing, “The caller told me she was feeling…” Have there been times when some of your call reports might have sounded judgemental? (This can happen when there are frustrating repeat callers) If yes, how could you write them differently? Writing judgementally, making negative statements such as: “he constantly complains” reflects poorly on you as a professional. Others might interpret your impressions as being prejudiced or overly involved. Remember to write facts only. If the caller were to read your report would they take offense to your descriptions of them or their issues? What are some types of information or methods of writing that should not be included in a call report? Do not diagnose the caller, we are not clinicians Do not use short forms of people’s names or nicknames Do not write your personal opinion of the caller (judgements) Do not say you think the caller is “so in so”….if the caller wants you to know their name they will tell you. You may say, “this may be a regular caller but could not verify” Do not make statements of how the person was feeling unless they tell you so, then report they told you Do not write every word that the caller stated, but make sure the report reflects important information that was relevant to their issues. Do not write names of individuals who did not call or not relevant to the situation unless for possible legal or life threatening circumstances. Avoid, “the caller told me her friend Lucas betrayed her and that she is no longer going to …”. This is not life threatening information; therefore you can refer to “Lucas” as her “friend”. If the caller told you she fears her husband “James” will beat her – you may want add his name in the report. In all circumstances, you should refer to your centre’s protocols and training information for your report writing.