January 10, 2007

North Carolina Housing Mentally Ill in Nursing Homes

The News & Observer reports that since North Carolina's state hospitals and mental health centers have been increasingly phased out, there are insufficient appropriate placement and treatment options for people with severe mental illnesses.

Designed to monitor people discharged from hospitals, social rehabilitation day programs (known as "clubhouses") and community-treatment teams, help some in day-to-day living, but not enough of even these options exist to meet demand.

With nowhere else to go, North Carolina is increasingly placing the severely mentally ill into "rest homes" for the elderly rather than in an environment specifically tailored to people with mental illness. In just the last 4 years, the number of people with mental illness in North Carolina rest homes has grown by 15 percent. Since these settings are staffed and designed to meet the needs of frail elderly people, advocates say that some adult-care homes have become dumping grounds for mentally ill adults and that this mix is troublesome - and in some cases - deadly.

"That [dumping ground] characterization is a crude way of saying that we don't have that range of alternatives, and no one disagrees with that," said Carmen Hooker Odom, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services. "We haven't seen the necessary commitment of resources, locally or nationally."

Psychiatrists and mental health advocates note that "effective treatment for people with mental illness includes access to mental-hospital beds, crisis services, housing, job training and supportive gathering places."

The Mental Health Association director, Tote, commented,

"North Carolina's going to pay the cost whether they show up in one of our places, long-term care, in a jail or in an emergency room."

Read the Full Article: 'Reform' puts mentally ill in homes for elderly:
State hospitals are being phased out faster than local care options are being developed


People in north carolina are outraged with the poor health care for the mentally ill. Ask anyone that has a son or daughter as i do with schizophrenia or othere severe disorders how poor the help is. It's a disgrace to treat the human race with such disgust. I cannot even say how ashamed I am of the support we receive here. Yea we do have to turn to rest homes, there is no facilities other than that for them. Ask anyone how poor these so called community workers are!!

Posted by: mary elkins at February 7, 2007 05:02 PM

People should write congress to encourage them to pass legislation. So people who have these illnesses could live in community housing beside each other so they'd be beside people who understand them and have caregivers on the premises, who would help care for their needs. People who have schizophrenia should not be shoved into nursing homes. Maybe if people had support groups, call senators, get grants from dept. of agriculture or donations from church's maybe just maybe we together can do something about this. This is just a few ideas that may work we need to band together.

Posted by: L P at March 30, 2008 09:24 PM

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