March 31, 2015

Creating an alliance of respect – Community Health Centers of Burlington at Lund

Posted in Employees, Residential, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:26 pm by Lund

Monday afternoon in the medical office at Lund’s Glen Road Residential Treatment Center is a busy time. Nurse Practitioner Diana Clayton and Nurse Kaitlin Reese, from the Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB) come every week to set up a medical clinic for the women and children living at Lund.   Diana and Kaitlin provide routine preventative medical care for moms and children as well as treating acute issues that come up.   They meet every woman and child who move into the building and work with the Lund staff to begin a relationship of medical care.

This partnership was started by former CHCB Nurse Practitioner, Annika Hawkins, who was experienced in community outreach. She realized she was seeing so many patients from Lund that an onsite clinic would be beneficial and make things easier for everyone. “The women feel comfortable at Lund,” Kaitlin explains. “With a lot of mental health issues, there is difficulty trusting people. Lund is a safe haven for the women and so to have a provider come into that community helps them to feel that they can trust the provider too. They feel more comfortable coming into CHCB later on when they have met someone at Lund first. It takes time to establish a comfort level with someone and here we have time to do that.”

It is obviously more convenient for the women to receive medical care in the place where they live without having to pack up their children in the cold weather, negotiate public transport and work appointments around treatment groups and daycare schedules. The ultimate goal though is to encourage each family into going to appointment at CHCB’s Riverside Avenue location as they get closer to leaving Lund and preparing to live independently.

Medical care can be overwhelming and intimidating for women who have not had good experiences with medical providers in the past due to their struggles with substance abuse. “I find that now they are in treatment, many of these women have these chronic pain issues that they have never felt were taken seriously. It was seen as malingering or drug seeking before. This is the precedent we need to work from. We need to build up relationship of trust and an alliance of respect,” says Diana.

Kaitlin and Diana work closely with Jessilyn Dolan and Leslie Swayze, the medical team at Lund and Dr. Bill Grass, Lund’s Medical Director. Before each clinic they get an update from Jessilyn and Leslie about each client on the schedule that day and then before they leave they pass on the important items and updates from each visit that might need to be shared with the client’s larger team. “Jessilyn is the glue between us,” says Diana. “She doesn’t hesitate to get in touch with us to confirm the accuracy of what the clients are telling her or to find more information.”

Leslie Swayze, Diana Clayton and Kaitlin Reese onsite at Glen Road

Leslie Swayze, Diana Clayton and Kaitlin Reese onsite at Glen Road

This collaboration has already expanded since it began in June of 2014. . The first provider from CHCB came alone and now Diana and Kaitlin come together. Diana is a lactation consultant and has met with staff at Lund to see how she could be helpful in supporting breastfeeding. CHCB also brings in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Anna Leavey, twice a month to meet with clients and provide additional mental health support.   CHCB reports that in the last eight months, Diana has seen 87 women and children onsite at Lund and that there have been 340 patient visits since the program began.

The docket is full every Monday afternoon and the exchange of information between the medical and treatment teams at Lund and providers at CHCB is lively and comprehensive. This is a successful, practical partnership that is working now and that has real benefits for the women and children in the future. “I think this is a really important role to play as the women grow into motherhood,” says Diana. “There is a huge opportunity to change the dynamic of the relationship between these women and their providers. It’s such an important example to set for their children.”

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