URGENT: Housing Options for People with Schizophrenia - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-02-2011, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My SIL has recently be diagnosed with schizophrenia and was discovered to have a fairly significant drug habit.  Her boyfriend is in jail and she is living with my ILs (and was living there before her brief stay in a short-term in patient mental health facility as well).  The drs at the mental health facility prescribed several different types of psychotherapy (individual and group counseling) and prescribed some medications but said she didn't need to do a long inpatient stay at this time (though he may have given my MIL the option...I don't know).

SIL also has an 18 month old son.  My ILs have taken over care of the toddler (and were pretty much doing so for the past few months anyway).  I believe they are planning on petitioning for temporary custody.

 

Since my SILs return to my ILs house, things have be extremely stressful for them, my SIL is constantly going off on them for every little thing (which i'm sure make perfect sense to her, but aren't at all predictible or reasonable to my ILs).  Her treatment of her son is...worrisome, to put it mildly.  It alternates between selfishly possessive (waking him up because she wants to play) and very heavy handed (time outs and yelling at him for completely age appropriate behavior....possible spankings).   We all understand that this is largely the schizophrenia.  Her paranoia seems to drive a lot of what goes on.

 

But my ILs are starting to realize that they may need to find housing for her. I don't think they can handle the stress of living with her at the moment while taking care of her son as well.  And her son is definitely getting more turmoil in his life since she came home.  I don't know if that has to mean "commiting" her or if there is some way to find a residential program of sorts.  They are planning to call their insurance provider after the holiday weekend, but I was trying to figure out what is available in our area for them....MIL and FIL aren't always skilled at finding out all the options and they need the help.

 

So....where do we begin?

 

(she doesn't have a job--and doesn't seem to be able to hold one--and doesn't think that there is anything really 'wrong' with her.  the ILs have money to get her help but not a lot.  so something super pricey probably wouldn't be an option).


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#2 of 5 Old 07-02-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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Most counties (at least in my state) have XXXX county Mental Health offices.  I would start there.  She would probably also qualify for SSI or SSDI if she has ever worked which will eventually bring medical with it.

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#3 of 5 Old 07-03-2011, 04:31 AM
 
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yeahthat.gif Have someone pick up the disability forms from Social Security right away so that can get moving because it can take a long time to be approved. Depending on the state and county, there may be a group home or similar situation available even though she has no income. Her mental health case manager or counselor should be able to help her with that. And the Social Security, now that I think about it.

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#4 of 5 Old 07-03-2011, 09:15 PM
 
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The National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI) can provide information about resources in your area and has support groups for your SIL and her parents. Go to their website and search for the local chapter. Her psychiatrist and therapist may also know about resources. Good luck she is lucky to have caring people around her.


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#5 of 5 Old 07-19-2011, 06:49 PM
 
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In brief, what kind of housing is available in her area varies widely depending on what county and state she lives in.  So, checking in with the county mental health services (a government body) is the first place to start.  Also, I would start asking people around if they know of any residences, hospitals, homes, etc.  Just to get the lay of the land.

 

What we experienced in my family is that the hospital just wants to discharge patients as soon as possible and cares very little for their aftercare.  They are just dying to have a family member take them in and their responsibility is over.  

When my sister was ill with schizophrenia, we finally had to refuse to take her in.  The hospital then said they would discharge her to a homeless shelter.  We wanted her to have long term treatment because she was highly delusional, didn't believe she was ill and would in no way be able to care for herself -- in short, she was "of harm to herself" ==this is a key phrase to use with the doctors.

 

We had to write letters, meet as a family with staff and INSIST that they find her a good aftercare program.  As a result, they transferred her to a state hospital for a year where the medicine had enough time to kick in, she got therapy, and stabilized.

 

The family has to get on the same page ( all agree that SIL cannot live at home, shouldn't have custody of her child, that the parents will not be able to take her in or pay her rent) and THEN and only then will the state step in and help out.  To what degree they do depends on each county, how much the family advocates for the patient, and luck (i.e. what doctors you work with, what beds are available).


My sister ended up being discharged to a fantastic county home where she has meals and 24/hr/day supervision.  She will need this type of supervision for life.  The meds help reduce her paranoia/delusions, but she is seriously ill and doesn't even realize it.  She cannot cope with shopping, cooking, holding down a job, etc.

 

It is a long road ahead for your family.  But it can turn out well.  I really second getting the family to NAMI, or finding a therapist who is really experienced giving support to families with family members who are seriously mentally ill.  We have done both for over a decade and the support/practical help has been invaluable.

 

You have to remember that your family must keep emphasizing that

-- she is unable to care for herself

-- she cannot stay or be financially supported by family

-- that she has no insight into her illness so is not going to comply with treatment unless forced

 

Do not agree to a discharge treatment plan that is not adequate.  Part of the mandate within many states is to have the family of the patient agree to the treatment plan.

 

We were always very careful to politely remind the hospital when they were proposing discharge plan that was inadequate (I.e. sending my sister to a homeless shelter) that if something happened to my sister, we would hold them legally responsible and that we were not consenting to the discharge plan.

 

good luck ... many people have travelled down this road before -- that is what NAMI is all about.


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