Adults struggling with substance use, mental health challenges and other complex needs are being supported by a new multi-disciplinary Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT) to build trusting relationships with service providers and improve their access to care, health and social functioning.
“Trust is of the utmost importance when it comes to building a relationship between health professionals and those with substance use and mental health issues,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The Intensive Case Management Team program is a great example of patient-centred care as people work collaboratively to find the supports that work best for those in need in the Mt. Waddington region.”
The ICMT reaches out to people aged 16 to 65 living with complex health challenges and experiencing moderate to severe impacts in their daily functioning due to substance use and mental health challenges. Personal histories and trauma have also resulted in a lack of confidence in the health, social services and legal systems that leave this vulnerable group reluctant or unable to access the services they need.
“Island Health is directing support toward client populations and areas of Vancouver Island demonstrating the greatest need and experiencing pressures on acute health care, justice and social services,” said Don Hubbard, Island Health board chair. “The ICMT initiative addresses gaps and challenges in how we reach out to those most in need to provide appropriate care, where and when they need it.”
The ICMT connects with people and their families mostly through outreach activities. Two ICMT nurses, two Mental Health and Substance Use Recovery Workers, one Aboriginal Support Worker and one administrative support person make up the team.
“We reach out to people in the places where they are most comfortable‚ on the street, their residences, community locations, hospitals and emergency shelters‚ to begin to build relationships of trust and support,” said Sara Gogo, manager of Community Programs in Mount Waddington.
If a person wants to participate with the ICMT, he or she and the team identify how to meet their own goals. Through a screening process the team ensures clients receive services right for them. Clients often focus on supports to find and maintain housing, manage risks associated with substance use including reducing or ceasing to use, access support systems including health and income supports and address probation and court requirements.
“The ICMT is very client-centred and abstinence from substance use is not a pre-requisite for service,” said Shane Thomas, lead for the ICMT in Mount Waddington. “We aim to support people wherever they are in their personal journey of recovery including supporting health changes of all sorts.”
Team members work with a network of community partners throughout Mount Waddington to provide services specific to the individual needs of each client.
“We continually strive to create and build strong relationships with and to work alongside health care providers, social agencies, First Nations partners, friendship centres, AIDS Vancouver Island, the Courts, probation services, RCMP and many other community service providers on the North Island,” Thomas said.
“These connections help us develop an integrated and comprehensive supportive response to the individual, families, friends and neighbours.”
The Mount Waddington ICMT serves Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Alert Bay and surrounding area. The ICMT works from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. People can refer themselves or connect with the team by way of any agency.