To be frank, I was astounded, astonished and heartbroken that anyone would be concerned that Procovery might help people to heal. Why wouldn’t this not only be seen as a positive, but also as the collective goal?
It was shocking to learn that healing could be seen as a negative, but specifically by someone working in public mental health, and it was incredibly disheartening that they would not only be in touch with the concern, but possibly act on it by intentionally withholding legitimate tools for healing.
New residents moving into a home frequently come in directly off the street, in the midst of crisis mode. It takes considerable time to determine the best, most sustainable room-mate situation, if there is family involvement, how to support or foster family involvement, etc. Determining medical considerations is incredibly time-consuming and determining what medications and med routine work best for the individual is labor intensive. The time spent toward determining, and then supporting, dietary restrictions (due to allergies, medications, religious beliefs, etc.) is immense. It is very complicated to determine which staff will be the best fit to work with the new resident, which adult home activities they might benefit from, along with a multitude of other considerations.
The reasoning I heard, over and over, was that with new residents moving in, there becomes an economic deficit, due to all of the care and attention needed to stabilize them in their new home. It is only after the initial (and often lengthy) transition period that the funding received for residents actually covers all of the expenses, and once the resident is fully settled, after multiple attempts at room-mates and medication choices and routines and family contact and group activities, there is very little profit and that minimal profit is then contributed to the deficit experienced with future new and/or high need residents.
Administrators reasoned that if Procovery helped people move out (and move forward with their life), they would be left with a constant stream of new, high need/high cost residents and the home would be unable to stay afloat. It was a cycle that never ended.
I heard this over and over (although different factors, reasons and outcomes played in to each institutional setting and administrator’s perspective) and there were always strong reasons why helping people heal, beyond the institutional setting each administrator oversaw, would (by their logic) negatively impact the system over and over and would ultimately put them and their staff out of a job, and current and future residents — people who needed and deserved a place to live — out of options.
At that time, I began to understand even more about the depth to the intricacies and complexities of the system and how shockingly hard it is to navigate, on ALL sides.
Stay tuned for The Los Angeles Days – Part Three.
Until next time…
Kathleen