Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Delaware Psychiatric Center to undergo overhaul

An article posted online on July 7th by The News Journal:
State, federal officials agree to five-year reform plan at state mental hospital

By Beth Miller and Esteban Parra

Delaware will revamp its state psychiatric hospital over the next five years, transforming it from a dysfunctional and sometimes-abusive warehouse for the mentally ill into an integrated mental health system that includes community life and vastly expanded support systems, according to terms of a settlement announced Wednesday by state and federal officials.

The ambitious agreement reached Tuesday ends a three-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and arrives almost four years to the day after a News Journal investigation that revealed rape, assault and other abuse of patients, exaggerated overtime expenses and threats and retaliation against staff members who reported violations.

It would put an end to long-term institutionalization of those with mental illnesses, steering state resources and support instead to community services and residential settings, providing customized support to keep people out of institutions and help those who can leave such settings do so.

Gov. Jack Markell and Rita Landgraf [pictured], secretary of the state Department of Health and Social Services, said the agreement includes expanded community service, housing, supported employment opportunities, a statewide crisis team that -- by January -- will respond to a person in crisis anywhere in the state within one hour, intensive case management and a network of trained peer support specialists who understand mental illness by experience.


Delaware must:
  • Offer community-based services to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of those with serious, persistent mental illness
  • Develop a statewide crisis system, including a crisis hotline, mobile crisis response teams, walk-in centers, stabilization services (short-term inpatient care, with stays no longer than 14 days) and crisis apartments
  • Provide intensive support services and case management
  • Provide housing, with supports including rental subsidies or vouchers, and assurances that new housing created under the settlement terms will include no more than 20 percent of units occupied by those with a disability, to prevent isolation
  • Provide supported employment and rehabilitation services
  • Provide family and peer support
  • Develop transition plans for each individual now in or being admitted to an institutional setting
  • Publish annual reports identifying the number of people served in each type of service, with evaluation of unmet needs and quality of services
  • Accept a court-appointed monitor to review and report on state compliance, issuing public reports at least twice a year, settling disputes and offering recommendations
  • Meet timeline requirements from January 2012 to July 2016
To read the entire article, please click here.

Also see:

State wins in Delaware Psychiatric Center deal

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