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LCS program focusing on community outreach

The Assertive Community Treatment model takes case managers to people's homes


by: JASON CHANEY - Lutheran Community Services Resource Center staff will all play a role in the new Assertive Community Treatment program. Pictured left to right are Dean Bonanno, young adult hub coordinator/therapist; Tiffany Boyum, case manager/active community outreach; Kori Kuaana, therapist; Karen Bones, case manager; and Fred Hosillos, supported employment specialist.

When staff for Lutheran Community Services provides assistance to people with mental illnesses, they typically serve them at their Resource Center.

However, they have recently added a new program that will enable them to care for the needs of clients in their homes as well and enhance their services in the process.

"The Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model is to help individuals with severe and persistent mental illness," said LCS therapist Kori Kuaana. Such illnesses could include schizophrenia and other conditions that are not easily cured. "Basically, it is going to be individuals who have the highest need. So they may not have transportation and live miles out. They may not be able to adequately take their medications. They would have a pill box and somebody would go out and actually provide hands-on services for that person."

Clients that the ACT program will serve are often either in the care of family members who have reached a point where they can no longer care for the person. LCS case manager Karen Bones recalls one such case involving a person living outside Prineville.

“She can’t get out,” Bones said. “She forgot to take her medication for a month.”

Oftentimes, they are homeless.

“They might be couch surfing and so they are going to need the full wraparound services,” Kuaana said. “They might need assistance with housing, assistance with food boxes. So, it is really what the Resource Center does, but it is really taking it out of the office and into the community.”

ACT is grant funded with about $25,000 to $50,000 awarded to the program per client. The state model dictates that a community program should be able to serve 100 individuals, however that number will likely be unattainable in Crook County.

“So the model is going to look different here,” Kuaana said. “The outreach is going to be very different versus an ACT community in downtown Portland where we already know where they (clients) are - we know the homeless camps.”

While that is the case, the program is already off to a promising start.

“I am still getting new people every day,” said Tiffany Boyum, who works in active community outreach for ACT.

Although the program will not likely meet the 100-person benchmark, Kuaana believes it can reach 50 people who might not otherwise come to the office for care.

“It is about education,” she said of the effort. “It’s about education to the community that we have this program — that if people know of people who could use the service that have been sleeping on somebody’s couch or have been parked in their front lawn for years, this program ( is here).”

After case managers make contact in the community, it enables LCS to invite the individual to their office where they can provide them additional services.

“Once they build a rapport, they (clients) come in here easily — within a week,” Bones said.

Ultimately, the intent of the program is to reach people in the community in need of help and take them to a point where they can care for themselves.

“The end goal is always going to be self-sufficiency,” Boyum said.



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