Albany Care psychiatric rehabilitation facility Evanston IL

Hello everyone,

Today I’m gonna talk about where I’m currently living. You may remember my post about life at Friedman Place. Since writing that I spent a wonderful year and a half there and did things that I truly enjoyed and made  one friend I’ll have for Life. Robert you know who you are LOL!

The good points I made about Friedman I believe are all still true. However I would  caution anyone applying or thinking of going there who has a mental illness to think carefully. They have no mental health services. When I was there  there was a very nice social worker named Jeff who had a lovable guide dog black lab named Randy. They made a good team. They were nice to talk with. Jeff however wasn’t a therapist in spite of being in the social work field for awhile. Since I’ve left there have been major  changes in staff including a new exicutive director and another social worker who I never did get to meet. I’ve heard this new social worker is very good. There is a third social worker who is the director of nursing which I still don’t honestly understand  why a nurse isn’t the director of nursing.  In any case, none of these people are therapists. And they don’t pretend to be which I guess is a plus. But they’re clear about for some reason not being able to provide mental health services within the building. Whether this is something they feel there isn’t the need for (in spite of my meeting many of  the residents and discovering over  time that they have various mental health issues) or if they just are unable to provide such a service. While  I was there their attitude was that they would wait til a person was in true crisis and then have them hospitalized. They’d come back a couple weeks later with no care plan or long term support to keep this from happening. Then there would be a build up crisis and another hospitalization.

I also don’t believe staff could be able to recognize or address behaviors associated with mental illness such as depressive behaviors, isolating, changes in speech and mood not eating sleeping too much ETC. I know that they did not know how to respond to self injury as I did this a lot and no one seemed to catch on. Not that I really wanted them to most of the time. I would also question that they’d be able to spot eating disorder behavior either. So they have no training in mental health care at all. This I feel is a huge piece  missing in a facility that otherwise provides decent care   to those that are blind and visually  impaired.

In November 2013 I had a major emotional breakdown. And was going to attempt suicide. I had a plan and means and if the nurse and CNA at that particular time hadn’t been there I probably would have succeded or been seriously hurt by what I had wanted to do. However they did catch me and did actually know what to do as having a CNA watch me constantly til I went to the hospital. At the time they said it would be a five day stay and then I’d be back. I was still dazed and starting to get furious that I would actually have to live my  life and pick up the  pieces of being so overwhelmed that I had wanted to end my life. It ended up that I never went back to Friedman again. During my hospital stay the only thing that pulled me out of the dark place long enough to change the path of my current living situation was  remembering people at Trilogy behavioral health care, where I had gotten outpatient services talk about psychiatric  rehabilitation facilities. They’re basically nursing homes who’s focus is psychiatric care. Some are better than others and of course clients who  are up in arms about  being there in the first place are unlikely to give good reviews. However I did remember at some point looking online and seeing they seemed like nice places. So I asked the social worker and my psychiatrist to look into me getting into one. I’ll save my fight to get into Albany care for another post because it’s another topic. But there was much discussion many people saying no and a  ton of advocacy on my part in spite of still being deep in my  break down.

Eventually I did get into albany care. Albany care is a for  hundred bed, I believe facility. For 18 years and older. Though I’ve never met someone that young here. A handful of us are in our twenties and early thirties the rest are a whole lot older. There are more men than women as seems to be the trend.

It was a lot to get used to going from a place with sixty people at the most in their own apartments to  hundreds of people, though of course not all at once, covering a building withnarrow hallways. The lobby and dining hall and elavators are particularly crowded. Many people are made unaware of what’s going  around them due to psychosis depression or anxiety so often don’t get out of your way even if you can see. It also can be chaotic and loud at times. Though there is extremely rare (like one incident every  couple years or something) instances of physical agression verbal  agression and fighting of that nature are common. This was extremely hard on me as someone with PTSD related to emotional and verbal abuse.  For me witnessing it  is a trigger because with my family often I wasn’t the target but had to witness a lot of put downs and name calling and I felt helpless and felt the feelings of the person as if I were going through it myself.

I’m thankful to  the staff at  albany for opening their minds and resources to taking on a resident with a disability in addition to mental illness. They’re pritty open to people with disabilities given that they have three residents that are deaf and many staff know ASL especially a case worker specifically hired for this purpose. From the  beginning there were CNAS that warmed to me emediately and helped with things like laundry getting to and from meals and making sure I got my meds.

The psychosocial rehabilitation services coordinators, or PRSCS are an extremely big part of life here. Each person is assigned one. Each one unfortunately probably has thirty people on their caseload. Often they are just out of college with their undergraduate degree in psychology related studies and little mental health work experience. However many have amazing  instincts with people which is way more important than any degree. They also learn quickly and the facility has a lot of  oppurtunities for trainings. They’ There’s also a person  called a quality assurance coordinator who helps nigotiate things with residents if there  are  problems with residents between residents and staff they help with that. As well as invintorying items and making reports for missing items.

Then there’s nursing. All six floors have a nurse during the day  and evenings every day. At the night shift I think there are like three nurses there so they have to devide themselves among the floors spending time on a couple floors a night. There are also CNAS three on the floors during the day and two at night. CNAS help with personal care and generally see how residents are doing. They also monitor   and serve in the dining room.

Oh forgot to say with the case managers not only do you meet with them one on one at least once a week there are also groups  that they run. Such as anxiety management, depression management,  relaxation, music group art group ETC.  Often the groups can be chaotic  because you have people with all varieties of functioning there and some can’t pay attention and  participate without fighting or going into their own world. Also the PRCS are not experienced in leading groups. However some are and it can make for good groups.

The building used to have seven  floors of rooms. Now they have six with the seventh being for activities. There are a number of activity staff including a very good activities director who’s been there for years and has a good  raport with residents. The staff organize  activities in the  facility such as bingo and other  games, beauty group, reading, arts and  crafts ETC. As well as outings to Wal mart target and other stores, to Navy Peer   musiums and other places. They also play movies in the little theater that  has a huge movie theater type setting as well as have socials in the   dinging room. Unfortunately  due to my anxiety these activities are often too crowded and loud for me even if not for others. However I  have on ocassion gone up there to use the exercise room they have bikes and other equiptment weights and a punching bag and therapy ball to sit on. I’d love other   equiptment like a trampoleen swing and other sensory equiptment that I feel would help myself and other residents. However it’s probably very  expensive.

The good things about being here are: staff with mental illness knowledge being here 12 hours a day. Knowing you can have someone you can talk to who understands. Having met my awesome big sister and best friend and Roomate Jess. CNAS and nurses looking out for me to prompt on meals and meds ETC that if I  were living alone might be inconsistent. The medical doctor and psychiatrist come right to the building. However I hate the way you don’t know when your doctors are coming in until the night before or day of. This means changing plans and  then the  possibility of the doctor not coming in. Also an irritating thing is needing to see the doctor every month as a matter of  policy rather then if you actually need to see them.

Often I wish the food were better. Lately they’ve been cooking the same stuff I don’t like at all. And of course Jess makes me eat even though I don’t want to. I guess that’s how I’ve gotten to a healthy weight  since I’ve been here.

Meeting Jonathan the clinical director. Oh I forgot to mention him in my staff run down. Well he supervises all the PRSCS and insures everything’s going ok. If there’s a crisis with anyone he hears about it and helps make quick decissions. He hires people and trains them. He’s extremely personable and genuine. He’ll work with and talk with any resident no matter the issue or how they act towards him he somehow finds a way to get through and help them meet their needs. My life has changed due to the therapy I’ve gotten  from him which I’ll talk about later. But having that long-term  unconditional support from someone who’s getting to know me inside out sometimes  better than I know me is one of the most important things here. I wouldn’t have gotten so far or be maintaining good mental health without his support. There’s also the assistant clinical director who helps him with stuff since he  has to do way too much as it is.

So to summ up this long post I’m putting a video of my review of the place. An audio visual version of what I’ve just written. I’m doing this so people who might be considering or someone is considering  you for  being in a place like this can know what to expect. I’m extremely curious what other states have to offer for residential long term care that’s affordable. Oh forgot to say they do accept medicaid here. So many long term mental health care places are private pay with no flexibility.  Anyone who has lived in similar things like  group homes or other arrangements I’d be happy to hear from you.

Please comment.

Video:

http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/html/triggers.html

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6 thoughts on “Albany Care psychiatric rehabilitation facility Evanston IL

  1. Someetimes I think I’d like to go live in a residential place! I nearly did last year! Good review of albany you gave here Sam. Also besides categories in the blog you should tag your posts. It will bring more readers! X

    • Hey Carol Anne. Yeah working on that. The taging thing. For some reason couldn’t find those edit boxes when I made the post. Hope I can somehow come back and Edit. Will look for other residential facilities throughout the state and post about them maybe even try to interview staff there or something at least get some info. I hope this gets readers too. Sam

  2. I have a younger brother who is 25 years old with mental illness and at riverEdge. He was brought there after he set himself on fire for a YouTube video he was making while depressed. He has 2nd degree burns and needs a more stable/structured environment for his mental illness and burns. His therapist at riveredge tried to get my brother into Albany Care, but apparently he was not accepted. Is it hard to get into Albany? Any ideas where he can go for residential mental care? It’s sad for me to see he’s going through this and now a brick wall is here and seems like he’s stuck. What do we do?

    • Hi Hollie,
      I’m glad you wrote. Th is horible. He made a video of it that’s just terrible. I’m so sorry.
      Albany isn’t really a skilled care facility. If his wounds from the burns are still healing he’ll need a physical rehab place, called skilled care that also includes a behavioral health component.
      I know what you mean about the brick wallHave been there myself along with my friends. My e-mail is nelsonsam68@gmail.com please e-mail me so we can talk more privately. In the meantime I’ll make some phone calls tomorrow. At least he’s safe in the hospital for now.

  3. Hi Hollie,
    I’ve been thinking of you and your brother. I think he definetely needs a facility that can deal with physical rehabilitation issues like wound care but also has a psychiatric component. Fridays aren’t the best days to make phone calls, people aren’t in the best of moods at the end of the week. But if you e-mail me we can talk. You can let me know more info about your brother’s situation, how his psychial recovery is going, avenues the therapists/ you have tried to refer ETC. That way we’re a team. So my e-mail again is: nelsonsam68@gmail.com Or you can use the contact me form

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