Caring for mentally sick ones at home

acollier-article20a-72212We know the condition of group homes in Tucson, Arizona
is a mixed bag at best, but what about those parents and friends
caring the heavy load by themselves in the home care situation ?

First, your loved one is loosely “monitored” by the “system”, which
for you consists of a case manager funded by the government
and a nurse practitioner or doctor in the psychiatric field,
who prescribes your loved one’s medications to attempt to keep them
stable and even able to reside at home at times.

Unfortuately, in severe mental illnesses that involve psychosis,
emergencies can still occur, which result in the loved one
being taken to hospital or other support center, or the
case management and doctor’s office. Keep documentation of
treatment contacts, court ordered treatment history, and
anything that can show the care facility personnel the diagnosis
and/or the name of the illness, etc. Otherwise, an evaluation
will need to be completed at the hospital’s psychiatric wing,
or other psychiatric facility, eg. SAMHC, Palo Verde, etc.

The sort of psychosis that can lead to someone being a
real danger to self or to others, will need to be managed
from home by calls to 911 or SAMHC 24 hours, 7 days a week
support help line: 520-622-6000.

When these special needs situations happen, it could be
at any time, especially the middle of the night, so someone
who works a regular schedule may lose sleep. One suggestion
is going to bed early, to allow for some up time for special
needs people, to wake you up a few times per night.

Some reasons why these poor sick loved ones get up at night ?
Its dark, and they get scared. They want or need company or just
some talk with someone who cares to really listen.

The special needs person may be needing meds for
anxiety or for their specific psychiatric condition. They may be ready
for a problem situation to (finally) be resolved in a trip to a help
center, or the hospital. If this situation is ignored, something bad or dangerous
could begin to get worse.

Close monitoring is needed when the loved one is “out there”,
and not present very much in “reality”, and so someone
will need to watch them nearly constantly, at least they cannot
be left alone at home to fend for themselves.

Needless to say, any weapons in the home (for self defense) must be locked,
and mentally ill persons must be prevented from accessing any items
of danger. Keep medications locked !

This is a big topic, discuss this with your loved one’s case
manager and doctor, and call SAMHC anytime, or NAMI Tucson office,
for more ideas and support for taking on this serious task
of caring for your poor baby (of any age) at home, your courage is large
to undertake such self-less love to care for someone who
may not always be tuned in to our world, and might be frightened
of our reality. They need your loving attention, and if you listen
in a very careful way, you will hear their thank you, gratitude and love.

Hang in there guys ! With the recent tragedies in metro Tucson and Denver,
more resources and ideas for proper care should come forth, and hopefully
reduce the need for home care for the severely mentally sick.

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