A home treatment service for people with a severe mental health crisis is now available across the Southern Health and Social Care Trust 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Having just celebrated their 10th anniversary, the Home Treatment Crisis Response Service is a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and support workers who help families to ensure that their loved one receives the care and treatment they need and can recover at home.
Last year, the service helped prevent hospital admissions for around 550 people experiencing acute mental illnesses, including psychotic disorders, depressive illness and anxiety disorders.
Forty four year old Shauna McCausland from Lurgan shared her experience of the Home Treatment Service.
“With a dual diagnosis of Bi-Polar disorder and personality disorder, I have experienced hospitalisation many times when I have reached crisis point,” she said. “Being seen by the Home Treatment Crisis Response Team was such a difference.
“ The fact that the team come to your own home is so much more discrete and less disruptive and distressing for everyone.
“I received intensive input from two Psychiatric Nurses each day for three weeks, their time was never rushed, they would stay as long as I needed them for and if I felt my condition escalating between visits I was able to phone them and they would come back.
“They offered emotional and also some very practical support for example sorting out my 32 tablets a day into a much easier system for me to manage.
“Along with the clinical care they gave me, the team was also there to support my husband which is so important for family members, coping with a loved one who has a mental health condition and rather than cancelling a much needed weekend break we had planned, they were even available by phone in case we needed to contact them for advice while we were away.”
Referrals to the service can be made by GPs, Psychiatrists, Community Mental Health Teams or other doctors.