‘Let’s just say a parent isn’t happy their teen has a mental or behavioral health disorder. (These are hypothetical stories). And let’s say the teen has learned how to pull mom or dad’s strings and emotionally manipulate the family through a variety of tactics, well-honed over the years, or succeeded in hiding a self-abusive behavior like cutting. Maybe it was the ‘other kid’s fault’ court charges were pressed. Perhaps that teacher is ‘a first class jerk and the school’s administrators are clueless’. Or maybe a non-custodial parent is abusive and that’s been well-covered up; or perhaps the other parent has a significant substance abuse problem which might come out. It could be the child has been in foster care since early childhood or in several disrupted placements, without having the core issue/s effectively addressed. Often a caring parent simply doesn’t know what to do next. Maybe only the friend realized a teen was suicidal or homicidal because of cyber-bullying and parents are in disbelief. Maybe there have been patterns of behavior in place for so long, a parent is at the teen’s mercy when the whining starts, the threats come out, or the lies begin,’ suggested Judy, LISW-S, clinical supervisor. ‘There is a reason a teen arrives at Pomegranate and usually a family system is involved- which also needs to be considered.’
Enter Pomegranate Health Systems. ‘The parent or guardian often, but not always come to visitation and/or family sessions with the therapist, CPST and caseworker. Many are deeply concerned and highly motivated. (Some parents do not attend holiday dinner invitations with their son or daughter- at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or don’t come to any sessions.) Other parents (on rare occasions) attempt to sneak treats to their child during visiting hours, items which may not be permitted on the ‘contraband list’ in the patient handbook, or offer their child a smoke at court. Yet other highly motivated parents are heartbroken that in spite of every solid and valiant attempt, the teen has rebuffed them, countered them on every count or actively misrepresented his or her life with them. This is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation or solution!’ explained Judy.
In closer quarters, a teen is assessed and observed 24/7 as the diagnostic and therapeutic process takes place. It is a partnership between all the types and levels of caregiver; a holistic and inter-disciplinary approach. “There are things a parent might not know, that emerge with nursing care, or might be addressed in nursing group- anything from a strange rash to a sexually transmitted infection to a pregnancy. It could come out that “twenty something neighbor” really is a creepy predator, even though 16 year-old Jasmine thinks he’s potential husband material truly in love with her and her parents are evil for putting a stop to the (way past budding) relationship,” said Rebecca, nurse practitioner. In the latest acute parent discharge survey, 80% of parents felt treatment issues were explained in above-average to excellent fashion; and an additional 15% satisfactorily. Ninety-five percent also rated treatment progress above average to excellent- of the 409 responses returned. Two parents were not pleased and their concerns were addressed.
In 30 day outcome surveys, Pomegranate tracks follow up and compliance with medication and therapy. With serious mental and behavioral issues, one doesn’t get an ‘instant fix’. Approximately 80% are doing alright- above average to excellent. Of those ‘below expectation’, one re-evaluates why and how, and makes adjustments in outpatient follow-up. (A parent’s expectation that a child’s gender identity issue will go away might claim ‘below expectation’.) In mental health treatment, recovery is possible, if not always immediate, and we’ll take ‘minor progress’- though 82% of parents surveyed claimed patient was maintaining, or exhibiting moderate to major improvement. This is a life-long process and not a one-time destination.
Sometimes parents will write comments or send notes to the CEO- good or bad. They might say something like, ‘I wanted to let you know that (the therapist) and (CPST) were wonderful and did an excellent job with C!!’ -or- “We waited 25 hours in the ER before our child could be transferred to Pomegranate.”–or- ‘We drove there 2 hours, only to find out ‘J’ could have gone by ambulance.’ –or- ‘Great job! You guys do amazing work. Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you!’
On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM the acute unit clerk wrote:
“I JUST WANT TO PUT THIS OUT HERE, I THINK YOU GUYS SHOULD KNOW THAT YOU ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED BY THE PARENTS.” She continued . . .
“XY’s” father spoke very highly of the service we provided for his son. Mr. “Y” told me to let the staff know to keep doing what we do here. We will make a difference in kid’s lives. Dad said he sees a big difference in his son; a big turn-around in his son’s behavior; he is using all the techniques he was provided with here. ‘X’ (son) wants to personally thank you guys, that’s how good he feels. Dad is very happy, says to keep up the good work.”
It’s all in a day’s (or night’s) work . . .
[photo credit: Dreamstime 18461971]