At Adult & Child, independence is a major goal moving many clients through our service lines. It’s the core tenet of skills work: to help struggling people handle the intricacies of adult life. A lot of clients benefit from by-appointment skills work out in the community, but A&C’s Adult Transitional Living homes exist for those who need support every day.
Kimberly Brand is the Team Leader of both Adult Transitional Living sites in the agency. One is located east of downtown on 601 N. Rural Street and the other on the south side at 2131 Fairfax Road. Each location is a collection of rented buildings comprised of duplex homes housing clients: three to a unit at Rural, and two to a unit at Fairfax. Kimberly notes that all mornings begin with medication, weekends & holidays included. The clients at ATL are almost exclusively adults with Serious Mental Illness requiring medication on a day-to-day basis. Staff members make rounds every morning and night through both Rural and Fairfax locations to distribute medications and make sure clients take them at the right times and in the right dose. These rounds in the morning and the evening often provide a framework for the day. Though ATL is not a facility, and the clients who live there are free to come and go as they please. Services such as intensive one-on-one skills sessions are meant to bolster their daily living skills in areas like cooking, cleaning, taking care of bills, insurance, budgeting, etc. The only requirements of the program are monthly rental payments of 30% of their income, involvement with Adult & Child services, demonstrated skills needs, and a willingness to engage.
Many clients come to the program from the community-based service line. Those already involved in skills development, but continue to need more intensive support are perfect candidates for the program. Sometimes, ATL functions as a stopgap between independent living and residential treatment at the state hospital. The program can function as an intervention for those dangerously close to hospitalization, and a stepping stone for those leaving the state hospital who still need to build up to living on their own.
The whole point of ATL is to help clients with Serious Mental Illness regulate their lives and gain independence. Those in the program are required to need a high level of support and actively work toward their goals with the staff. Kimberly notes that some mistake the program for a homelessness relief program, which is untrue. Therefore, she is careful to fully screen potential clients to make sure they truly need all the services offered.
As Adult & Child grows, ATL grows along with it. New positions on the ATL staff have continued to expand services and heighten the quality of the program. The addition of staff nurse Karen Pedigo has streamlined all medication needs. Before she joined the team, it was a huge headache for the staff to constantly be on top of ever-changing prescriptions for all clients. Now, Karen is on-site to manage medical needs and handle any medication issue that may arise. Also, new hire Nathan Garlick signifies ATL’s venture into providing more on-site services. Nathan is the first staff therapist hired to work exclusively out of ATL with ATL patients. Many clients are already involved in A&C therapy, but having a therapist on-site all day for appointments and group sessions is a dream come true for the team. This means fewer issues with transportation, more availability, and a heightened focus on the needs of this specific population.
And Kimberly is excited for the program to keep growing and innovating. Looking to the future, she notes that some clients need a higher level of care and would benefit from a group-home type model. This month alone has brought a number of new skills staff members to ATL, each working to keep the program running smoother than before. The impact the staff has on clients’ lives plays out before their eyes daily. Hopefully, the future brings more residents, more services, and more confidence for clients winning back their independence.
ATL client, Alice, told us her story. Watch here.