Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is an individualized program?We recognize that each one of us can pursue activities that make us feel better. Some like music, some like to read or study, to go jogging, to be alone or to be with others, do something with your hands, meditate or do a cross word puzzle. Some find satisfaction in stacking firewood, for others it is like adding insult to injury. In our program, we allow people a good deal of individual input on what one needs to do to get healthier. It is not so much a question of what one would like to do but more a case of what someone needs to do. For some this is a part time job, for others a class at the local college, others find that our regular work program suits them just fine. This does not mean that each person goes his own way. Many of the activities are shared, but there is ample room and time for one’s own interests.
What are your expectations of residents?We ask each person to do his best in everything he does. Working on getting better, healthier, or more independent is not a part time endeavor but it is a full time job. We ask of each resident to contribute in six different ways each day: 1. Do something good for yourself. 2. Do something good for the community at large. 3. Do something intellectual. 4. Do something physical. 5. Do something artistic. 6. Exercise every day.
What is your average length of stay?Perhaps more importantly, there is no limit to how short, nor how long a person can stay. Length of stay is dependent on diagnosis, length of illness, and severity of illness, number of previous hospitalizations, family support and involvement, how hard you are willing to work, etc. Our hope is that we can make a difference in a person’s life. For some this means a goal-oriented program: get a job, get an apartment. For others it is the assurance that we will be there for them. A short stay may be from three to six months. Many residents stay a year or longer.
What does a typical day look like?We ask each resident to be up by 7:30 a.m. This allows for time for hygiene and breakfast. We run a program from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. At 9:00 a.m., there is a house meeting where we plan the day and discuss issues of concern. Then we divide into groups for different activities. This may be the garden or greenhouse, a carpentry/maintenance crew, a housecleaning and meals crew, etc. Some residents may have left already for work or school. We expect that whenever someone is not actively doing something that is part of his individual program (such as working part-time or working on schoolwork), that he is part of the general program. We meet again at 1:00 p.m. As part of the daily program, everyone, staff included, walk or do some other type of exercise a minimum of 30 minutes each day. The afternoon is partly a continuation of the morning program but is more open to individual pursuits such as playing music, working on a craft project, helping with dinner, studying and reading.
What diagnosis do you treat?We work with people diagnosed with schizophrenia, bi-polar disease, schizoaffective disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social adjustments, learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD. We have been getting more residents with computer and video game addiction issues. Many of our residents have a history of alcohol and/or drug use. We are not, however, a treatment option for people seeking help with active alcohol or drug addiction. For people no longer using drugs or alcohol, we can help support them to stay clean. We encourage attendance in AA or NA meetings.
My son needs structure and needs to be kept busy. What do you provide?We believe strongly that everyone benefits from a sense of belonging. That is why we strive to be a community rather than an institution. We also believe that a lack of motivation, or a lack of direction, is often a sign of not having a sense of future. When someone is anxious about his future, or has no idea who he can do or wants to do, this can appear as seeming laziness or not caring. We try to give each resident a sense of belonging, providing structure, guidance, and a sense of future, thereby creating hope and motivation.
What resources are available as part of your program?We have a consulting psychiatrist, William Samuel Grass, MD, who spends a day with us every month. Dr. Grass is also available by phone or email on a 24-hour basis in cases of emergency. Carolyn Prescott, M.Ed. L.A.D.C. is our consulting therapist who runs a weekly group and sees some residents individually. Other therapists are available locally. We have a consulting nurse who provides input and medication supervision. Castleton Health Associates provide medical services such a checkups,illness and lab work. Other doctors and specialists are available in Rutland, Mary Fletcher in Burlington or at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH.
What do you feel is an important part of your program? We stress involvement, dedication and the social aspects of working, living and eating together. We strive to be healthy in all we do, say and eat. We believe in providing as much of our own food as possible and we grow our food organically. We support our local community as much as possible. We bake much of our own bread. We recycle and compost and we try to teach that each one of us is a part of a much larger picture. We have an active Community Service group that meets regularly to help others in town. Last year we built a 20' x 20' storage shed for a local church and we did carpentry projects for some of our neighbors. Our interns and students are another exciting part of our program. We regularly have beginning social work students from Castleton University as well as a senior social work student. We have psychology students from Castleton University and from Green Mountain College. These students bring enthusiasm, energy and a fresh face as a bonus to our program.
What are your staff qualifications?When hiring staff, we are more likely to look for people with energy and caring attitudes than initials behind names. Every one of our staff is dedicated, patient, and hardworking and they can make a difference because their caring shows in all they say and do. As staff, we have a wide range of interests and skills. We have a master gardener, excellent cooks, an excellent meal planner, staff who show artistic qualities in art, staff trained in therapeutic recreation, staff skilled in carpentry and good with machinery, staff who are good with computers and staff who are good listeners. Among them, we also have the necessary degrees; bachelor and master’s degree level case managers, master’s level senior staff and administration. We have a consulting psychiatrist, a consulting therapist and a consulting registered nurse. All of them spend time with us on a regular basis.
What about program costs?Please give us a call to discuss our daily rates! We believe our rates to be competitive. We recognize that having a mentally ill family member is taxing both emotionally and financially and that many people have limited resources. We are willing to work with insurance companies. Some cover our services, many do not. We are willing to work with families to see if we can find a way to finance our program. It is often a question of “let’s talk and see what we can work out.”
What does the daily rate cover?Basically, the daily rate covers the program, case management, routine psychiatric services and room and board. The daily rate does not cover medication, long distance phone calls, dry cleaning, allowance, or medical services, individual therapy, or extended visits with our consulting psychiatrist. We provide private rooms for everyone, shampoo, towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and local transportation to school, job, or social events. In short, we try to be fair and provide as much as possible without charging extra but we might charge extra if we have to drive someone to an airport 90 miles away. We might charge extra if we have to provide one-on-one services because of extreme need or because we are taking someone on a three-day fishing trip. The bottom line is that there will not be any surprises. Everything will be worked out in advance.
How do you feel about family involvement?We believe that family involvement is essential. In order for the healing process to proceed, all parties must be allowed to have input. We ask each resident to sign a release of information, so that family members or guardians can receive a monthly report to update them on, hopefully, progress but sometimes also lack of progress. We welcome input from families and often have families meet with the psychiatrist so that everyone understands what the issues are. Families are typically in touch with case managers on a regular basis, by phone, email or in person. Of course, we need a resident’s signed permission in order for us to communicate with family members.
Tell me about case managers.Upon admission, a case manager is assigned to each resident. During the first few months, this will be either the director or the program coordinator. After this time, another staff person may take over this responsibility. More challenging residents tend to keep the director or program coordinator as case manager. In consultation with the resident, and with possible input from family, therapist or psychiatrist, the case manager is responsible for establishing goals and objectives, writing monthly reports and making sure a resident’s needs are being met. This ranges from scheduling regular dental check ups to making sure there are enough socks. In addition, the case manager is the primary contact with family or guardian.
How open are you to input?We like to think we are very open. Upon admission, each family member is given the email address and the home telephone number of the director. This is in case something important comes up and you could not reach staff for one reason or another. We think our regular process is working because the director gets very few calls at home.
Are there animals?We have a small flock of sheep, a horse named Champ and two miniature horses named Einstein and Marvin. We have a small flock of chickens. We currently have no residents who have an animal but we have had rabbits, dogs, birds and fish. Taking care of animals, doing chores, cleaning stalls and cages, carting and spinning wool and building and maintaining fences for pastures are a big part of our program.
Can we come for a visit?Of course. We like visitors. Call 1-800-287-5325 to schedule a visit.
What do I have to do to become a resident?First, we only accept residents who come voluntarily. We are not a locked facility and we need a resident’s voluntary desire to get healthier. We would like as much pertinent paperwork as possible. Psychological tests, IQ tests, vocational tests, therapist’s and psychiatrist’s notes, progress report, hospital intake and discharge summaries are all helpful to get to know a potential resident’s needs. We would like a narrative provided by a potential resident, or, if not possible, by a family member. This often provides a balance to psychological reports and hospital summaries. We have a short application we would like you to fill out. This can be downloaded from our website. After these records are reviewed, and we believe there might be a possible match, we ask for an interview, followed by an overnight visit. Sometimes a 2-3 day visit is arranged. We recognize that interviews are stressful and we will try to make this as comfortable as possible. All we want to do is get to know you a little to see if we can help you. And we want you to get to know us.
You reviewed my son’s records and you turned him down. I think you are wrong! I think he would do well in your program.Occasionally, we make mistakes. We are looking for a match: someone we believe we can work with and someone we have reason to believe would do well in our program. If you think, we are wrong, talk to us. We will listen. We want to do the right thing and we want to be fair. We want to run our program not only with our heads, our education and our experience but also with our hearts. We have been wrong before, we have been persuaded to change our mind, and we often have been glad that we did change our mind. Talk to us if you do not like what we are doing.
Can I bring my………….? Guitar?Yes, please. Bike? Skis? Certainly. TV? No. Computer? Maybe, it depends on whether the computer will add or distract. Car? Maybe in due time if you need it to get to a job or to school.
I have another question!Fair enough. Email us at email@example.com or call toll free: 1-800-287-5325. I will see what I can do to answer your questions or concerns.