When you begin receiving home healthcare from Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, you are actually...
Mental and Behavioral Health Care: Helping Patients Find Stability With Compassion
Amy Silbaugh, is the VNA of Ohio’s Director of Mental and Behavioral Health Services. She has served in this position for the past two years and has been with our organization since 2002 as a field nurse and as the prior manager of Mental and Behavioral Health Services.
As we move out of mental health awareness month, we are happy to offer an overview of Amy’s important leadership and expertise within VNA of Ohio’s mental and beharioral health services.
- What types of services do you offer in your role?
I provide referrals and offer community education. I seek out community mental and behavioral health service providers that need support caring for patients either leaving facilities or in outpatient treatment. We create awareness about the many services we offer and work to gain referrals. We want to create partnerships with other agencies that provide substance abuse therapies, counseling, and treatment.
Our home based services are unique in mental health care. We are ADAMHS Board certified to offer medicaid services. Because we are able to go into patient homes and provide the support they need, our level of care is much more user friendly.
- How do your patients come to find your services?
We mainly gain clients through hospitals, clinics, and outpatient treatment programs. However, any family or patient can contact VNA of Ohio directly for services. Our intact coordinator will follow up with anyone who contacts us.
Some of our community partners don’t know how substantially we can help with patient mental and behavioral healthcare. The VNA of Ohio offers the heavy lifting for patients because our services are offered to patients directly, in their own space. Our providers are attend to patients no matter what, on their worst days, and wherever they call home.
Many community based and private clinics provide medication assistive therapy for patients after drug rehabilitation programs which require patients to go into a clinic to get their medication. This treatment option makes it much less likely that they will fail to attend their appointments or start using again. Our approach works against these odds.
- Has your work grown during the challenging pandemic years?
VNA of Ohio was recently awarded a ADAMHS Board grant which helps us close this important gap in services. Thanks to this funding, we can act as a resource to keep people on their programs which require important treatments like Vivitrol, a medication that reduces substance abuse dependecy. Our services alleviate a patient’s need to go to a pharmacy or a clinic to get their medication because we are able to provide both!
Because we work with all of the VNA of Ohio patient care service areas we have been able to develop a multidisciplinary model for mental and behavioral health. Our CARE program provides support for adult patients with all facets of our home healthcare services. We have witnessed a great need comprehensive care for our patients. Many need housing, nutrition, hygiene, medication, safety plans, trauma support, counseling, and many other items to help them create a productive life. The CARE program supports this goal and alleviates some challenges with prior provider care as well as medical coverage because we manage all facets of patient care under our single program.
- What are the positive aspects or lessons you have learned from your work within the organization?
I’ve been able to forge a lot of wonderful relationships with other organizations and I see all the opportunities to get help for patients. We are all in this to help patients. All of us come from a good place and many of us have struggled with our own or a family member’s mental health issues. The level of care is intensified with these personal connections and I find this really fascinating, hopeful, actually.
- Do you have any advice for any patients dealing with the effects of long term home healthcare or with mental healthcare needs, specifically?
Mental and behavioral health care is a marathon not a sprint, it is often without a cure. I advise patients to remember that there will be rough and easy days. The goal is to find stability. The more support you have, the better. Surrounding yourself with people that want you to live a more stable and satisfying life will serve you well.
Finally, I remind patients to not be afraid to ask for help. Mental health challenges are nothing to be ashamed of. An illness requires treatment and everyone faces challenges. We are here to offer the help patients need to regain control of their lives.
Would you or someone you know benefit from our mental and behavioral healthcare services?
Contact us today and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Learn more about all of our services.