Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bernadine Fried of Wonderland EPA Strives for Higher Level of Client Care

Bernadine Fried
Q: Can you explain what the requirements to provide addiction treatment are?

Bernadine Fried: Wonderland EPA is applying for its license by the State of California as a residential treatment center. This licensure allows us to treat individuals with an addictive disorder with co-occurring mental illness in California.

Q: In your experience, what has been the best way to learn more about client care?

Bernadine Fried: In order to truly understand the client we need to learn from the client. Too many programs do not include the client in the treatment planning process. At Wonderland EPA the clients attend all their treatment team meetings. In fact our clients lead the treatment team meetings and the role of the medical and clinical professionals are as advisors.

Q: Why do some clients end up in the psychiatric hospital?

Bernadine Fried: Helping a client or their family in crisis is common in our work. At times when a person is a danger to themselves or others it is important to utilize the local psychiatric emergency teams (PET). If the PET member feels the person needs hospitalization they usually take the person to the local hospital emergency room. We are lucky that we have a number of great hospitals including UCLA and Cedars Sinai close to our Center. This can be overwhelming so we typically accompany our clients to the hospital.

Q: What is a typical reaction from people who are placed in the psychiatric unit?

Bernadine Fried: Many grow upset and agitated. Psychiatric hospital units have a role in the continuum of care of clients suffering from substance abuse and mental illness. We rely on psychiatric units for client behavioral interventions and medication stabilization. We do our best to stay with our clients during their stay at the hospital. We try to help the client feel loved and supported. We do our best to stay attached to our clients even if they are not in our Center.

Q: After examining these environments, what was your conclusion?

Bernadine Fried: Psychiatric hospitals perform a necessary and vital function to our community. They save lives. It is difficult for psychiatric hospitals to provide the services of a long-term residential community based program. Since long-term care correlates to better outcomes residential programs may be important after a client leaves a psychiatric hospital stay.