So again there are staff changes at Albany care big surprise!
So let’s just start with the past month, because there were a few changes before that but yeah. Two caseworkers I did not like who started at the same time, right when I moved in. So they’ve been there a year and a half or so. Anyway though I didn’t connect with them they were two people well versed in all things caseworker and so could help train new people and at least you know be on staff.
So while I wasn’t upset to see them go I was upset that two people were leaving at once. We got a replacement for one last week. She seems nice and I’m glad they got someone so quickly. For the people that have been leaving there have been new ones coming in right away which is good. Probably due to summer and people needing new jobs and being right out of school.
So they’re still looking for a replacement for the second person. Found out today that another caseworker unexpectedly, to us residents anyway left Friday. We weren’t sure if this was a sudden thing but learned from a caseworker that she had given two weeks notice.
It’s so hard when these people leave like this. Even if they’re not your caseworker the whole thing behind these staff is that they’re all there for anyone who needs it. The PRCS, caseworkers, are the go to people for mental health issues and support.
When I moved in here I thought there would be all these specialists and therapies and just about everyone would have some kind of psychiatric or psychology training. Well for a population of over three hundred you have I believe eight caseworkers
These are more often than not bachilors level people. We have had some with masters degrees but it’s rare. Also though you would expect all would have degress in psychology itself many don’t. They have degrees in public health, education, and one of my favorites forensic psychology. There have been like four with that degree. Just not something I would have expected.
Anyway for many this is their first entry level job. Many have no had any experience with working with people with mental illness before this though obviously they try their hardest to find those that have had the most experience. So it’s kinda all about on the job training. Each caseworker has about thirty clients. The requirements I guess officially are that you meet with the client I think it’s a half hour a week or 15 minutes twice a week or something. That’s like the official by the book thing. I don’t know the exact times because my caseworkers due to my care plan and how I was a bit of a crisis situation for awhile, have been doing almost daily check ins. But so yeah. I was on one to one, so being observed before heading to the psych unit and so was observing myself, an orientation a pretty good caseworker was doing for a new one. Who incidentally did not last long. But anyway. That’s where I heard the official once a week thing. And he said that he barely can see his even that much. Which is so sad.
So in addition to this the caseworkers run groups. There are no other therapists that come in and do this or work here at all. Except a few psychologists I forgot, that do come in and do a couple groups and see clients. However the clients need to have medicare. Which I was really frustrated and annoyed about. I figured as we live in this facility which is covered by Medicaid, we could receive all services regardless of any other insurance. Kind of like when you go to a community mental health center you can get individual therapy group therapy and all this stuff with no limits on it where you wouldn’t get that if you were trying to do any one of these things separately.
But I guess not. These psychologists come in kind of consultation I guess. And only see the ones that have medicare. So anyway the caseworkers run all these other groups. Which are daily half hour groups on different topics. So much of it is an issue of people who are almost in too much of an unstable blace to even benefit from the group. And it’s very disruptive and onfocused. And yeah. I came in 2014 and I was not happy. They convinced me to try some groups and I was like hey yeah why not that’s why I’m here. But honestly so many of the groups just made my anxiety worse and not better. Either because the other members were so disruptive or the group leader could not control the group and was doing things I didn’t feel lent themselves to an organized group. There was also the issue of them having a group called music therapy, that in fact was not lead by a certified music therapist or even expressive arts therapist. Having a minor in that field I really got upset about that. Especially as they were using music in a really scattered way and not realizing they could be hurting people. For example playing a song but then not discussing the feelings brought up by the song at all which could be really harmful to a client. So yeah again I was very surprised.
So you have the caseworkers. The nurses are not psychiatric nurses which coming in I thought at least one of them would be. There is the clinical director who does have his masters and license in social work and is a very solid professional in a lot of ways thank goodness I know the place would fall down without him! He has two positions of his assistant clinical director, and the quality assurance coordinator who are kinda like his right hand people. And are hired internally, and are often the best of the caseworkers. They get promoted which is good. I just really feel that in the layer of the department there need to be way more positions with master’s level people giving these caseworkers way more support than they’re getting. And so that clients can actually have quality individual therapy along with case management. Edith was talking about this last week or the week before. She’s still trying to convince me to see Melissa, that therapist who was gonna see me and I’m still not into it but anyway. She was saying quite earnestly that she’s not a therapist. And we can talk and have a lot of good conversations and she can do a lot of referral work for me, calling places getting resources in place communicating with others in and out of the facility. But she’s not a therapist and there are places she just can’t take me emotionally because she doesn’t know how. And I think that’s a really fair point.
I know it’s a place funded by the state and that has a lot to do with it. And with the IL governor being incredibly unsympathetic towards a lot of things we’re lucky to have the place still open. I just wish the mental health side of care, which after all is what this place is about was better. Often especially for the people who are really doing badly the stratigy is kind of get them to stick to their meds and contain them. Which is really sad.
I know each facility is different though. My friend recommended Margarett Manor which I posted about a month or so ago because the staff turn over isn’t as bad. And when we went there we saw that. The social workers had been there for years not months. Which was good to see. I guess some social worker had left recently after twenty years so yeah. Each place is different. When stuff like this happens it makes me wish I wasn’t in a place with three hundred or more people and the effect that has on staff availablility. Then again I am lucky to have the care I do. Because the staff, not just Edith, but some of the other caseworkers (even though I don’t feel as connected to them as I wish I did) the nurses and especially one CAN in particular really do know me and care about me. Plus I met Jess here which never would have happened otherwise. That said if/when the time comes for Edith to leave, the CAN to leave ETC we might just leave. Because it’s such chaos if you don’t have those true connections. And it’s hard to find those true connections with so much going on and so little staff to handle it all.
Check out my blog
What’s your preferred method of online peer support? Take this quick and anynomous survey!