by Comprehensive Staff

03/24/2020 8:40 pm

Amid Pandemic, Behavioral Health Services Continue

Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, behavioral health services like the ones provided by Comprehensive Healthcare also continue while other industries are told to halt work or to work from home. People sometimes forget that healthcare includes mental health and substance use treatment. The tenants of these services include connection, engagement, acceptance and appreciation of strengths; generally offered through supportive networks. Comprehensive Healthcare will strive to ensure all the tenets for those in recovery and moving towards recovery are met.

 “The services we provide at Comprehensive Healthcare are considered “essential” healthcare activities”, says Jodi Daly, Ph.D., President and CEO of Comprehensive Healthcare.

 Comprehensive Healthcare provides a full-spectrum of mental health services from outpatient counseling and Substance Use Disorder treatment, to crisis support, inpatient mental health treatment, and outreach to name a few.

 As behavioral healthcare providers, much of Comprehensive Healthcare’s services focus on diversion and assisting individuals who could potentially be in the hospital due to a mental health crisis or substance use disorder.

 “Right now, in the state of this emergency, we want to make sure our fellow healthcare professionals working in the hospitals have the resources and space to serve the most critically ill. We must continue to do our part and help prevent individuals from needing hospitalization due to mental illness.”

 While this situation evolves each and every day, Comprehensive Healthcare’s main concern has been how to best serve patients, while keeping their staff safe and healthy. Comprehensive Healthcare has already prohibited visitors into their inpatient and residential units and implemented screening measures for staff and clients coming into their facilities.

 Comprehensive Healthcare has confronted many of the same challenges hospital staff have been presented with, such as a shortage of personal protective equipment supplies like masks and hand sanitizer. Recently, Comprehensive Healthcare was also having difficulty finding household supplies for their apartment, assisted living, and residential units.

 Unlike hospitals and clinics, behavioral health services are not restricted to a clinical setting. Some therapy teams and prescribers visit homes as a part of their program parameters, and case managers continually go out in the community in places like homeless shelters. Comprehensive Healthcare also has jail-based teams and designated crisis responders who are often in the hospitals or accompanying law enforcement.

In response to the outbreak, staff and clinicians enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices early on. One of the greatest challenges has been the need to adjust daily operations within a very short amount of time as information and safety mandates evolved rapidly. In addition to the stress of rapid operational changes and the need to work nimbly, staff have also been impacted by school closures and having to find child care so that they are able to go to work.

 “They are the unseen heroes,” says Daly, “despite the fears and concerns for their own health and that of their families; they are here every day—saving lives, serving their clients and their communities.”

 Daly says staff has been able to meet challenges with bravery and resilience. She also praises them for bringing forward a number of innovative solutions to problems. Outpatient clients are able to call and connect with their provider over the phone and they are currently working on telehealth options for individual therapy. Outreach professionals are meeting with people outdoors and maintaining a distance of six feet apart while communicating. With the help of one of their Pharmacists, they are making their own hand sanitizer for the agency.

 “Lately, it has been a matter of doing the most we can within reason. I am truly impressed with the resiliency of our staff and their innovative efforts. As we prepare to face staff shortages, we have had so many people come forward and say they would be willing to help in other departments. I am overwhelmed at times by the team spirit of this entire organization,” said Daly.

 Comprehensive Healthcare will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and the national, state and local proclamations and orders. They are aligned with and receiving advocacy, information and support from the Washington Council for Behavioral Health, the National Council for  Behavioral Health as well as local legislators and state representatives.

 “For now,” said Daly, “we will continue to serve our patients who need us now more than ever.” 

 For more information about Comprehensive Healthcare, details about their facilities and services that have been altered in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit their website.