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The Bridge Program: Providing Care to Those with Nowhere to Go

In Cuyahoga County, 50% of the clients admitted into the state psychiatric hospital are readmissions. Many of these individuals were unable to access care to achieve optimal health and independence. Rather, they were forced to turn to the hospital systems to receive treatment, continuing what is known as the “Revolving Door Syndrome.” To prevent the reoccurring cycle, community agencies joined forces in hopes of closing the gap for care and created the Bridge Program.

Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, in partnership with the Adult Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS) of Cuyahoga County, developed the Bridge Program in 2005 to provide immediate services for clients following hospital discharge.

While the goal of every provider is to help clients achieve and maintain independent living, there are often barriers from the outside world. Due to a high volume of cases and lack of providers available, clients often wait nearly 60 days before being seen by a community provider. The Bridge Program provides care during that transition, a time when client typically are forced to go without medication and support.

The Bridge Program

This one-of-a-kind initiative meets the specific needs of Northeast Ohio by helping the uninsured living with a mental disorder -- those who are most likely to cycle back to the hospital.

Within 48 hours of hospital discharge, individuals are scheduled for a home care visit with a VNA of Ohio psychiatrist and nurse. Providing care throughout the transition to a community provider, VNA of Ohio provides medication and support to prevent individuals from returning to the hospital.

This effective concept has changed the lives of many. In 2014 alone, the program has served more than 155 clients from hospital and community referrals. For those referred from a local psychiatric hospital, only 5.4% have returned for further care. Of those referred from a community agency, the Bridge Program has a remarkable success rate of 0% re-hospitalizations.

By keeping clients in their homes, they are reintroduced to safe, healthy, and independent living.

To recognize this innovative program, and further educate the mental health community on its successes, VNA of Ohio clinicians, Amy Silbaugh, BSN and Thomas Huggins, RNC have been selected to present at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 28th Annual Conference in Indianapolis, IN.

This grant funded program is unique and strives to meet the needs of every client referred. Through the dedication of the mental health community, the Bridge Program can be extended to educate and care for a greater population.

VNA of Ohio Mental Health Services

In addition to the Bridge Program, VNA of Ohio provides in-home treatment and care management for clients with various mental health diagnoses. As the largest home-based mental health nursing program in the state, the multidisciplinary team of professionals offers client and caregiver education and support, chronic disease management, hospital prevention, counseling and specialized geriatric mental health services.

VNA of Ohio is the only organization certified as a home care and a community mental health agency.

For a complete list of services, visit:

Call VNA of Ohio Today

Learn more about VNA of Ohio mental health services, or call us today at 1-877-698-6264.