Returning to wellness after her spouse's death
Anna's struggles began when her
husband of over 50 years was battling
a chronic and fatal illness. Following his
death, she became acutely depressed
and was often in emotional distress.
"She had stopped eating and taking
her medications," says her daughter
Janet. "She had a difficult time accepting
dad's death, and it became apparent
she was going to need more care
than our family could give her."
The healing began when Janet
called Valley Health's Inpatient
Behavioral Health program. "Our family
was distraught, and the kindest person
answered my call," she remarks.
Anna was admitted to the inpatient
facility and was welcomed and reassured
by nurses with specialized
training in mental health care. Her
treatment began with a complete
medical assessment and continued
with counseling, medication and other
therapies. "Mom really improved under
Dr. Nardelli's care, and now that she's
home, she has continued outpatient
counseling with Dr. Rhodes."
Janet continues, "It was a difficult
time, and mom still gets treatment from
Valley Health's staff, but with the wraparound
support provided, mom has
made great improvement."
TIPS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
Partner with the care team.
"Getting to know the staff has
been so helpful," Janet says.
"If we see symptoms of depression
begin, we encourage mom by
saying, 'make sure you tell
Dr. Rhodes how you feel."'
Educate yourself and learn the
signs and symptoms. Keep your
eyes on the patient-literally-so
you can check visual clues that
might indicate a relapse. "We
learned that face-to-face visits
are ideal," Janet adds, "but even
a Zoom or iPad visit gives us the
chance to see mom's color, speech
and mental focus." This is even
more important during the pandemic,
when many are isolated or
quarantined at home.
Caregivers need to get the
support they need too. Resources
can be found at the National
Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org)
and National Alliance for Caregiving
those who are grateful for this new way to interact with providers and
others in their therapy groups.
SBIRT: REMOVING BARRIERS TO CARE: Even before the pandemic,
Valley Health had begun pairing mental health outreach efforts with
primary, family and even emergency services. The Screening, Brief
Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program, which is part
of a statewide collaboration in Virginia, was launched at Winchester
Medical Center (WMC) in 2017. The program has fostered interaction
with numerous adults who seek care in Valley Health Emergency
Departments (EDs) and may have behavioral health needs. SBIRT
clinicians ask patients simple questions about tobacco and
alcohol use, anxiety, and other mental health challenges
during their ED visit and intervene when necessary by
connecting patients with the appropriate behavioral health
resource for their needs.
Offered in partnership with George Mason University,
the SBIRT program has screened more than 60,000 patients
across Virginia for substance use and depression. A recent
survey indicates that 100 percent of those screened at WMC's
Emergency Department felt they were treated with respect by
the SBIRT clinicians, and over 70 percent said the interaction
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