Monday, June 30, 2008

Friends & Families Picnic to Reunite Formerly Homeless Men with Their Families

You are invited to the Gateway House/Brandywine Counseling

Don Hofmann Memorial


Saturday, July 19, from Noon until 5 pm

At Wilmington's Brandywine Park

(Next to the Wilmington Zoo)


If you would like to bring your favorite party dish

to share with the group that would be great!! (This is strictly optional)

The Friends and Family Picnic is a free, public event open to the community. The picnic gives Gateway House residents an opportunity to bring their families into their life in a non-threatening situation. Many residents need to mend relations with their families because of mistakes they made during their drug and alcohol addiction. The picnic is a welcome opportunity for friends and families to join in a resident’s new life.

Gateway House provides long-term, permanent housing for homeless men who are willing/ready to address the issues that caused or contributed to their being homeless. An estimated 29% of Delaware’s homeless report chronic substance abuse. With housing and treatment programs, many are able to overcome their addiction and become productive members of the workforce and society. Brandywine Counseling is proud to partner with Gateway House to put on this event.

Looking forward to seeing all our Friends and extended Family!!

Daily Message 6/30/08

Dear God, we ask you to slow us down. Help us to find the time to recognize and face our addiction. To take and make the time, our personal recovery may need.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Daily Message 6/27/08

We ask God to show us the way. Though we often forget to ask give us the strength and wisdom to follow.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daily Message 6/26/08

You don't always have to have played a great game. The championship comes, only after you've played all the games

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daily Message 6/25/08

Sometimes, it's so easy to feel lost. But I have never heard, of God misplacing anyone.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daily Message 6/24/08

When we think we would like tomorrow to be...we have to be really careful, of how we go through today.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Daily Message 6/23/08

In our quest for sobriety and recovery, we get so busy, trying to make amends and repairing some of the damage that our addiction may have caused...that we overlook the good within ourselves. The self value that we truly misplaced.

Friday, June 20, 2008

5 Questions for Kim Ortiz, Nurse

5 Questions is our ongoing feature where we introduce you to the people who make Brandywine Counseling run, spotlighting a different staff member every two weeks.

Name: Kim Ortiz
Job: Nurse, Lancaster Center
Time with BCI: 2 years

1. What led you to work in addiction treatment rather than a doctor’s office or hospital?
Three experiences have prompted me to go into an addiction treatment center:

In addition to being a nurse, I am a musician also. I became acquainted with a fellow musician who started playing for one of my choirs years ago. I found out that he was an addict and learned about his cruel childhood and what triggered his drug use. We still managed to become the best of friends. On one occasion, I didn't hear from him for two days, which confirmed my suspicions that he must be using. By Monday, he came to my door, asking to take a shower. I refused to let him in my home. In fact, I packed his clothes, gave him $5 for gas, kissed him farewell, closed my door, and then slid to the floor in tears. He was as close to me as any brother could ever have been. It hurt to have to practice "tough love." But I did. The story goes on, [and] through his recovery process, we stayed in touch. It was this friend that taught me to have an open mind about people and not to be so judgmental.

Before I came to Brandywine, I worked at the Veterans’ Hospital. Many of the patients were current drug users. They were introduced to drugs while in the military, serving in various wars. While assessing some of my patients, I got to know many of them. I loved working there. To see the things they were having to struggle and deal with, it’s become a desire of mine to help people.

[Also,] I love psychiatry, getting to know people and what makes them tick. One of my dreams is to further my study so that I will better equip myself to counsel those that are in need. I play a major role in scheduling Dr. Tavani's appointments (the Psychiatrist here at Brandywine.) It's interesting to hear the experiences and challenges that our clientele have endured. The past-to-present stories of some of our clients would make the top best book seller's list and it wouldn't even be fiction! What better place to work than Brandywine, to touch these areas of interest for me?

2. The nursing staff sees our clients every day, when they come to your dispensing window. What’s your relationship like with your clients?
They feel like family to us. We get to know what's happening in their lives on a regular basis. They bring their children in, bring us pictures of their families. When a client comes to my window, if they’re having a problem with anything, I can talk to them. I think they feel comfortable at confiding in us about their lives, things that they might not tell other people here. I love talking with people and I love helping people, so I really count that as a privilege.

The thing that I value most in working here as a nurse is, that I am working with people that are the same as you and I. I believe most people have some type of addiction, whether it be food, sex, drugs, or working too much. It's what we do to try to make up for the off-balance that is reflected in our lives. I hate the stigma that's placed on [addiction]. We sometimes put people in this little box, and think that they all should be labeled as such, as an "addict." But the fact is, that these are real people, with real issues, real problems, and real concerns. If we treat them as such, I think we get back the same respect that we would expect. I wish our society would get out of the mindset that, "They are just addicts." Yuck!! No!!! A lot of them didn't ask to be in this position. If we could just be understanding about that, the world would be a much nicer place, as far as I'm concerned.

3. The BCI medical staff has been very involved in our P2R efforts to improve access to treatment. We’ve become less like a doctors’ office and more like an emergency room, with all walk-in intakes, no appointments. Do you think those changes have helped the clients?
I do. I think that it makes it easy. I can get a call on the phone today from someone asking, “How do I get into this program?" And I can say, "We're open every day of the week. Be here by 5:00 in the morning, Monday through Friday, first come, first served." If they want treatment right away, they know that we're available, we're flexible, and all they have to do is get here. Once they get in here, we take their names, and, 1-2-3-4-5-6! We take six people, Monday through Wednesdays, and two clients on Thursdays and Fridays. As long as they're willing to get here by 5:00 A.M., their chances of being seen are really good.

4. What advice do you have for someone who would like to do the job you do?
My advice would be to go in with an open mind, and to not have that judgmental stigma of people that are addicted to a substance. If they can block that out of their mind and realize with every client, there is a story. There's background history. And God knows, that if we read all of the background history that Dr. Tavani compiles on each client that she sees, some of our stigmas would definitely change. In many instances, it may not have been that client's fault that propelled them into substance abuse. What caused that client to use? Were they born addicted with an addicted parent to govern them?

If we could just get that stigma out, I mean, throw it out the window, and realize, these are people, just like those coming out of the hospital with physical ailments. Our clients have major physical impairments going on, maybe stemming from the experiences that have happened in their lives. Whether it was just choosing the wrong friends and someone starting them on the drug-use trail, as innocent as that may sound, now they're stuck with a habit that they wish they had never started. In all of this, remember that, many of our clients are here because they want help desperately. Do everything that you can to give them that help without enabling them.

5. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
There are several rewarding aspects of my job.

[First,] being able to run to emergencies. Just recently, we had somebody who had a seizure, and he fell out in the waiting room, and hit his head, and we had to call 911. I like trauma type settings, so when that kind of thing happens, it’s an adrenaline rusher for me. Being able to get that person revived, and get them back conscious. That’s firsthand nursing experience right there.

When a client comes to my window and tells me that they're going to a job interview, and they're afraid to reveal to the employer that they are on methadone, I feel their fear. I enjoy encouraging them, “Think positive! Hold your head up, and smile, smile, smile!” Reminding them that they are doing this for themselves, and they are doing all within their power to heal themselves, so they can do better in their lives. This is all that any of us want in our lives ... to do better. “So, go get that job! You're gonna do this for you!" Then, it really makes my day when they come back to report that they did indeed get the job, and thank me for being so supportive. Hallelujah!!!

Lastly, when a client finally gets to zero milligrams of methadone. It's a day of rejoicing!!! They've done their part in their treatment, and are finally able to walk away from here without any withdrawal symptoms. To God be the Glory!!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Daily Message 6/19/08

We may never BE perfect...We may not always BE right...We may at times BE lost... But we know one thing for certain. We always have the right to just...BE.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daily Message 6/18/2008

Why, do we find it so hard to believe, in that, which we cannot see? Faith, hope and sometimes, even... God. Unfortunately the possibility, of our future sobriety, can also seem so remote and distant but these things are there, and they do exist...You just have to BELIEVE !!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Daily Message 6/17/08

There...But for the grace of God...PRACTICE TOLERANCE, for it really could be you, or someone that you love.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Support Delaware's 10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness

John Baker of AIDS Delaware has written an editorial to draw attention to the need for more housing for people with HIV/AIDS in our state. "A Wealthy State Fails to House Its Sick" describes how we could fill the need for hundreds of beds if the state would fund a plan that has been brought before the legislature. The cost of this plan would be offset by reducing the burden on our emergency rooms and hospitals. Studies show that the stability that comes with housing enables patients to improve their health.

Your help is needed for this plan to become law.

The state of Delaware has a responsibility to invest the money needed to house people with AIDS and others who are chronically ill. Right now, we are all paying far too much.

Please contact your legislators and ask them to support and fund the "10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness."

Daily Message 6/16/08

Never mistake kindness for weakness...Sometimes it takes great strength, to be kind.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Daily Message 6/13/08

No matter what your age, remember to look at each change, as a challenge and every challenge, as something to be won!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alpha Program Shortens Wait Time, Reduces No-Shows

The BCI Alpha Drug Free Program is seeing our clients engage in treatment more quickly after admission. At the same time, we see the fewest no-shows we've ever had for appointments. These are our latest successes in Paths to Recovery, patient-focused process improvement without additional costs or staff.

In the month of April, our clients progressed from admission to their first unit of service (individual or group) in an average of 9 days, which is the fastest in two years. Our average had been 12 days.

These results came after we introduced a new service called the Meet & Greet. This is the first time the client returns after admission. On average, it's 4 days afterward. They meet their assigned counselor, review the program rules, view a ten-minute orientation video, and schedule their first individual appointment. It’s a much more streamlined version of how we used to do orientation. Previously, clients would not meet their counselor until the first individual, nearly a week later. Knowing how important it is to establish the therapeutic alliance, we made it a priority to push this meeting up as early as possible.

Also in the month of April, our no-show rate dropped to 19%, which is our lowest in two years. This is for individual appointments for all active clients. Our average had been 26%. Client retention is also better, with more people staying in the program past the 45 day benchmark.

This came about because of our new, retooled motivational incentives. Since February 2008, each client draws from the fishbowl once at every individual and every group. They can win credits of $1, $5, $10, or $50 which they can bank and redeem for prizes including gift cards, bus passes, and 12 Step items.

This is a real turnaround after we had used motivational incentives for a year without seeing improved no-shows. Before, there were fewer chances to win since draws were not done in groups. There were also “Good Job” certificates mixed in with the prizes which had no value in dollars, only as motivation. Turns out, they weren’t very motivational! So the “Good Jobs” are now gone, and every draw wins something. And the best part is, the cost to the program is about the same. Banking of credits is also new, giving clients a choice to cash in right away or save up for something they really need.

Both of these projects took a long time to fine tune and perfect. The Alpha change team worked at this week after week at our lunchtime meetings. Our ideas made sense, and we expected them to work, but if the numbers didn’t show it, it was back to the drawing board. In terms of the PDSA cycle, it seemed like we were stuck on "A" for “adapt.” It just shows that process improvement in addiction treatment is hard work. It doesn’t get any easier just because you’ve been working at it for nearly5 years.

So it is all the more rewarding when we do get the great stats we’ve been waiting for. Good Job! I mean, Good Work, team!

Daily Message 6/12/08

Life is full of surprises and sometimes the joke is on you. It's best, to develope a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2nd Annual Old Skool Outreach

Hi, this is Brandy Rodgers from the Outreach department.

It was a warm and bright afternoon on June 3, 2008 when Brandywine Counseling's Outreach team celebrated its 2nd Annual Old Skool Outreach event. It was a great time of fellowship and outreach as the NEP team and other staff at Brandywine such as our site supervisor James Harrison, and Chris Zebley and Joyce Bunkley who are nurse practitioners that work with HIV positive clients, joined us for the occasion. Last year’s event was such a success that we had to do it again, but this time Bigger and Better.

The NEP team, along with some of the staff at Brandywine Counseling’s HIV prevention programs, walked throughout Wilmington neighborhoods accompanied by some friends and family spreading knowledge about HIV prevention, rapid HIV testing, and ways to join the needle exchange program. We had a nice turn out at the event as the crowd enjoyed music while eating some wonderful BBQ done by Demitrius Bullock of the NEP team before going out into the neighborhood. The normal outreach team, which includes eight, grew to about seventeen people.

We had a great time spreading knowledge and interacting with the community. We would like to thank everyone who came out and showed their support for the event and we hope to see more next year!

More photos from the event

Daily Message 6/11/08

Putting on another's shoes, may give you insight...walking in them will give you compassion and understanding.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Daily Message 6/9/08

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Take it a step further, forgive your really confuses them.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Daily Message 6/6/08

If God lives "within" you...Be careful where you take Him.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Another Gift Toward the Playground

We are happy to announce another major gift toward the Lighthouse playground - the Welfare Foundation has awarded us $3,000. Thank you! We are closer than ever to our goal - I think we will get this playground built this summer!

The Welfare Foundation is a local, private, charitable foundation established in 1930 to support local charitable, educational and scientific organizations. Fields of Interest include Arts, Environment, Education, Hospitals, Social and Human Services, Community Development, and Government/Public Administration. The foundation distributes approximately $5 million annually to various charities.

Donate by mail
Donate online

Daily Message 6/5/08

Your mind can create limits...Your actions can surpass them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Daily Message 6/4/08

If letting go, leaves clawmarks...what does holding on do?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daily Message 6/3/08

If you try to change the world, you're going to be disappointed. If you try to change your corner of it, you may find out...just how successful you can be.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Daily Message 6/2/08

We awake, each day with new hope. We push, to set new goals. We strive to set a new standard, that we learn to expect... from ourselves.