Home Health How one triage center delivers more culturally sensitive mental health and addiction care

How one triage center delivers more culturally sensitive mental health and addiction care

by News7

In the face of high addiction rates, mounting mental health crises, and daily reports of overdoses and suicides in the United States, a community triage center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has come up with a novel care approach that can be replicated around the world.

The center, called The Link, provides 24/7 care and support for individuals struggling with mental health crises and addiction, with a patient population disproportionately represented by Native Americans and people of color.

The triage center – a public-private partnership between the city, county and two largest healthcare organizations in the state – has helped divert citizens in crisis from law enforcement and hospital emergency departments, which are not fully equipped to provide the kind of compassionate and personalized care needed for each individual.

A true success story
Since its opening, the center’s culturally sensitive care approach has reduced the number of custody holds (drug/alcohol emergency law enforcement holds) by more than 90%.

Kelsey Sjaarda, clinical program manager, The Link, at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, will be giving a presentation on this success story at the HIMSS24 Global Conference & Exhibition in March. 

The session, “A Culturally Sensitive Approach to Acute Mental Health and Addiction Care,” will review the center’s techniques for crisis stabilization, withdrawal management and sobering, which have yielded such dramatic results, with an emphasis on how they can be replicated in other communities.

“The overarching focus of this session is to bring attention to the concept of a community triage center, which is still a fairly new concept in the healthcare world, and how it might be adapted to best fit the needs of a community,” Sjaarda said.

“A community triage center can provide an alternative care setting for individuals experiencing addiction or an acute mental health crisis, which diverts them away from our hospitals and jail,” she continued. “Addiction and mental health touches every one of us in one way or another. The goal is really to connect individuals who are struggling with community-based resources through a warm-hand off.”

Adapting approaches
Since its opening, staff have had to adapt their approaches and find what works best for each individual. The HIMSS24 session will not only talk about the services provided at The Link but lessons learned, successes and challenges.

“Mental health and addiction care cannot be addressed within the walls of just one organization,” said Sjaarda. “It takes engaging multiple community partners to care for the whole of the individual and connect them to the most appropriate resources.

“It’s important to connect individuals with the most appropriate care, at the right time and in the right setting,” she continued. “The biggest thing I would like individuals to walk away from this session with is to open their mind to what a triage center might look like within their community.”

She added that the organization researched best practices and engaged different communities from across the nation to find out how they provide services to this vulnerable population. Before the formation of The Link, a group of stakeholders toured numerous triage centers across the nation. Each one did things a bit differently based on the populations they serve, payer source and unmet resources.

Advice from the expert
Peers looking to create such a center should engage a group of diverse community stakeholders not only in the formation process but in ongoing evaluation, Sjaarda advised.

“Having diverse input on what different agencies are experiencing and see as unmet needs is valuable information,” she said. “Engaging them in the process also gives them buy-in. Having formed those relationships throughout the development of The Link has been useful in problem-solving and being able to go to our partners and ask for their assistance.

“The population served at The Link is predominantly Native American, although our community is almost 80% Caucasian,” she concluded. “Having partners who have expertise in working with different cultures helped us in being creative in providing culturally sensitive care.”

“A Culturally Sensitive Approach to Acute Mental Health and Addiction Care,” is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, from noon-1 p.m. in Room W330A at HIMSS24 in Orlando. Learn more and register.

Follow Bill’s HIT coverage on LinkedIn: Bill Siwicki

Email him: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

Source : Healthcare IT News

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