Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How lives get better around this place

The strength of the Caramore program is the length our staff goes to try and improve a client’s life. When we get evaluated as a facility periodically by Carf, they are always impressed by our “anything it takes” mindset to improve a client’s life.

But what is it to improve a client’s life?

Certainly all of our client’s are different and need to be evaluated differently. But we examine the following:

  • The illness. First and foremost our client’s mental health treatment is paramount—this includes all prescribed psychiatric care.
  • Overall health. Caramore believes that a sick body needs all the help it can get in adapting and gaining some equilibrium around deficiencies. We do not preach a cure for mental illness; rather, we encourage the gradual move towards a healthier lifestyle—beginning long-term cumulative habits of doing more things right than wrong. We want clients to see the results of healthier choices in the way they feel.
  • A unique life. What are the particular circumstances of a client’s life? We know we have to work on practical survival stuff like working and bill paying, but how can we help them enjoy their life? What are the obstacles holding them back? How can we help them handle difficulties and frustrations? How can we help them be more adaptable? Do they have a good mix of interests?—neither being excessively active or inactive in any one thing? Are we paying attention to the dreams they had before they got sick? What are their dreams and motivations now?

This final category is very complicated and we as staff do not always agree on how to help facilitate a better life.

It can be very frustrating trying to rouse motivations and see progress amid mental illness, the complicated baggage of a life lived, experiences, family relationships, permanent delusions, immaturity, substance abuse, terrible decision making, dependency, sometimes learning disabilities, worsening of symptoms, and the trial and error of psychiatric medication—it all can seem overwhelming!

But that’s the nature of what we deal with. We have a remarkably long-term staff that prides itself on being creative and trying many strategies to improve lives. We don’t want to give up on anyone!

D. Cooley

No comments: