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Addressing Patients’ Aftercare Needs

April 29, 2015 Print

‘‘You Are Not Alone’’

In September, those words of support and wisdom were delivered not just verbally but also in writing to families and friends in the new Guide to Transitioning from Inpatient Care.

Inspired by the hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, which is comprised of family members, former patients, and staff, the Transition Guide joins two existing complementary publications: Guide to Arriving at McLean Hospital and Guide to Inpatient Care at McLean Hospital.

Transition Guide“We had heard from many families that they needed more help in addressing the needs of their loved ones after they had been discharged,” said Susan Krueger, LICSW, former director of the Social Work Department and leader of the group that developed, planned, and wrote the new guide. “They wanted a document in hand that would explain how, for example, to find the right treatment providers, deal with possible relapse, or navigate the insurance maze.”

A six-month endeavor, the guide, which is provided at discharge and is also available on the McLean website, covers those and many other aftercare topics in honest, compassionate, terms. “Our aim was both to impart hope and to set realistic expectations,” said Jaimie Hogan, LCSW, an inpatient case manager in the Geriatric Psychiatric Program. Also included in its pages are information on discharge planning, self-care for family members, financial planning, confidentiality rights, and definitions of legal statuses such as health care proxy and durable power of attorney. Its appendices feature a wealth of print and online resources: publications, support groups, and useful mental health organizations.

Pulsing like a heartbeat beneath the practical information are messages of hope: “Recovery is possible.” “You are not alone.” “Knowledge is empowering.”

“Family education is an integral part of the hospital’s mission,” added Hogan. “Expanding outreach to families through resources like the guide helps enhance care by promoting cohesion and facilitating awareness and preparedness in coping with all the phases of psychiatric illness and healing.”