Thursday, April 30, 2009

Remembering Iris Berman, Dedicated BCI Board Member

We were saddened to receive the news that former BCI Board member Iris Berman has passed away.

The time and energy Iris brought to her BCI board service was far and above the norm. She was nearly singlehandedly responsible for starting our annual fundraising events, with the Hubcaps oldies band and then the Comedy Showcase. In this 2005 picture, Iris (right) collects tickets at the door with some help from her mom.

I had the opportunity to work with Iris on our fundraisers for several years, having committee meetings, making flyers, collecting donations for the auction. She was a longtime board Treasurer who was here before I came, and was active in many other areas until leaving in 2006. It was a pleasure to work with her as a board member, and to get to know her as a person.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grant Writing Season

If you're a regular BCI Blog reader, you might think things have been quiet here. Why so few posts lately? Actually, it's grant writing season, and we've been hard at work on some applications for new federal funding.

Writing a grant is a long, tedious process – from the beginning when we’re throwing out ideas, trying to funnel them into a coherent concept; to the end, chasing down that last letter of support that we know went out, just not where it ended up. What a relief to upload the finished package to the agency and see the message come up on my screen, “Confirmation.”

But there’s also an exciting aspect. Grant writing is our chance, as treatment providers, to think big. To think how we can do what we do in a better way. To visualize how we could better meet our clients’ needs and try to put it into practice. To think about where we can partner with other community agencies, and where our new, most promising practices like recovery coaching fit in. And to use some pretty cool language like “treatment that works in a new way.”

Now, we wait a few months to see if we get an award. And, I get back to my regular posting duties here (after some vacation time next week). So things aren’t quiet at all here at BCI. Actually, there’s quite a lot going on. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Write Your State Legislator: Maintain Funding to BCI

BCI clients, family members, and friends, you can help ensure that Delaware will continue to fund services for people served by behavioral health agencies. Here is a sample letter you can personalize and send to your State Representative or Senator.

We know the State of Delaware is facing a huge budget deficit for next year. If we make our voices heard, we may prevent a possible reduction or elimination of services for addicted persons and their families. If BCI has saved your life or the life of a loved one, please tell your story!

If you don't know who your legislators are, you can call the numbers listed here.

Your voice matters. Write today and give people affected by addiction hope for the future. Thank you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Delaware Needle Exchange Enrollment Reaches 500

As of today, we have 507 unduplicated clients enrolled in the City of Wilmington's Needle Exchange Pilot Program, who have exchanged more than 17,450 needles in two years and some change. This means that we have incinerated over 17,450 potentially infectious syringes and removed them from our streets. Since it is a one-for-one exchange, there is virtually no needle litter problem anymore.

231 participants self-reported that they were referred by another needle exchange client. This proves that word-of-mouth advertising is what works with this population.

Caucasian clients make up 71% of the caseload; however, we are working on increasing the participation of African Americans.

1087 Rapid HIV tests have been completed on the van. 182 HIV tests were NEP clients. The other 905 were community members who accessed HIV testing because we brought the service to them. As a result of our success with reaching the community residents where we target injection drug users, we are planning to begin offering the combination Hepatitis A and B vaccine on the NEP in the coming weeks.

Other noteworthy numbers:
  • 11 HIV Positives have been identified on the van.
  • 40 formal referrals to treatment.
  • 25 confirmed linkages to drug treatment.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Problems We Can't Help, and The Ones We Can

A few weeks ago I got an email from Chris, our Nurse Practitioner, that he thought would make a good post for the blog:

"As a consultant and part-time employee for BCI's-MM2 Program (Newark site), I have noticed firsthand the effects of our economy in crisis. I have witnessed recently at least three clients who have been laid off or who are living with the daily fear of losing their employment... These consumers have earned their position in the MM2 program. Most have been drug-free for several years plus. They are so proud of their accomplishments including buying their own home with their own money. Now the economy has taken a terrible turn for the worse with no certain timeframe for recovery. This enormous stress and burden for our consumers may be too much. This financial burden may be an unforeseen trigger for RELAPSE. I can only try to be optimistic, empathize and offer support for our consumers during this dismal transition.”

Well, I didn’t post this right away. I thought it was missing something. Honestly, it was kind of a downer. Yeah, the economy’s bad – tell us something we don’t know. I wanted to at least leave the reader with some hopeful moral, or some call to action, but nothing came to mind.

Yesterday, Chris asked me about the post, and I still hadn’t found my ending. He wasn’t sure what to add either. So the conversation moved on, and he started telling me about a recent evening at our Newark site. It was one of those long, cold, winter days and they were waiting for the last client of the day before they could close and go home. The client came in, and picked up her medication, and when she went to leave, she had a flat tire. So Chris helped her change the tire. Then, there was something else wrong with the car and she needed someone to give her a ride. So Chris waited until she got a ride home, even though it was late, and cold, and the end of a long day. “Well, I couldn’t just leave her there!” he said.

So after he told me all this, I asked, why didn’t you send me that story for the blog? Not only does it have a nice ending, but it gives me the ending I wanted for the first story. Because even in these tough economic times, for every seemingly hopeless story, there is another hopeful story somewhere.

Volunteer Needed: Nurse to Administer Hep A and B Vaccines

Brandywine Counseling is looking for a volunteer registered and licensed Nurse to perform vaccines to a very important and under-served population at least one day a week for a 2 hour shift.

The service will be provided on a Mobile Health Outreach Van which parks in troubled areas of the city of Wilmington during scheduled hours. We have 8 scheduled sites and locations and are flexible about which one will offer the vaccine. We are most interested in finding a committed nurse who will choose a day that works for him or her. (Our schedule can be found on our Web site.)

We offer FREE HIV Testing, sterile syringe exchange, safer sex materials and supplies, referrals to other social services, drug treatment etc. We have a wonderful relationship with the community and want to take advantage of the free vaccines we have been given to disseminate.

Please feel free to contact Basha Silverman with questions at 302-655-9880 ext 23, or apply here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BCI Clients Staying Longer, Getting Younger, Remaining Abstinent

Our CQI committee, which gave us the satisfaction survey we posted yesterday, has also given us BCI's latest demographic report. It shows some interesting trends that we wanted to pass along:

  • At the end of 2008, our census had increased to a total of 2161, reversing the decrease of 2007. There is evidence of increased consumer retention. (See graph) Last year we admitted 2987 people to treatment and discharged 2836.

  • Our female census remains over 30%. Traditionally, it is more difficult to get women into treatment than men.

  • Nearly 60% of BCI’s consumers are under the age of 35. The average age continues to get younger and younger. (See graph)

  • 31% of consumers who were discharged attained some or all of their identified treatment goals. Examples of goals include improving your living situation, improving your physical health, and improving your social connectedness.

  • The census in our Opioid Treatment Program now equals the census in our Drug Free Program. Opioid Treatment had been higher for years.

  • A total of 40% of our Opioid Treatment patients have at least 90 days of abstinence and have some take-home privileges. This represents 34% of Lancaster’s 710 patients and 51% of South Chapel’s 378 patients. This is another number that goes up every year, and that’s a good thing!

Monday, April 6, 2009

2008 Patient Satisfaction Survey

The results of our 2008 patient satisfaction survey are in. Thanks to the 503 patients who responded and rated us in areas such as environment of the clinic, confidentiality, and how much counseling is helping you.

This year we saw a huge increase in the number of surveys completed – almost 200 more than in 2007! That is great because it gives us a 23% sample, which is much more representative of the total population.

In general, your ratings were very consistent from last year in all areas. One exception is a notable increase in satisfaction in mental health services at South Chapel. We think this is due to a dramatically reduced wait time. At one point last year, it was taking up to 13 weeks to schedule people for with the psychologist, but by shifting our staff time from other locations to Newark, we were able to reduce this to 4 weeks.

Some other highlights of the survey:
· You felt BCI’s services were confidential and private.
· You thought our rules and policies were carried out fairly.
· Overall, across all BCI locations, you were satisfied to very satisfied with your treatment.

Survey results have been shared with our staff, who will be working with our Continuous Quality Improvement committee to address your most important needs.

Do you have more suggestions for us? We want to hear from you. Did the survey touch on the issues that are important to you? If you were designing our survey, what questions would you ask?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Join Us for a Workshop: "Human Trafficking in Delaware"

Brandywine Counseling and the Ministry of Caring invite you join us April 29, 2009 for an Information Session, "Human Trafficking in Delaware," by Ron Chance.

Delaware may be in trouble...we need to learn more so we can help. This workshop will give us ideas on how to identify this hidden epidemic and what to do about it.

Human trafficking is the modern day practice of slavery. It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Every year traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits at the expense of victimizing millions of people around the world. Victims of human trafficking are people forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation.

The Presenter, Ronald Chance, brings to this topic a 20 year career in law enforcement. He has served with the U.S. Department of Justice to address organized crime and racketeering. As National Intelligence Coordinator he created a system to investigate major criminal activity.

Location: Community Services Building- Conference Room -2nd Floor, 100 West 10th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.

When: Wednesday, April 29, 10:00AM to 12:00PM

Parking: CSB parking is on Orange St. at 11th, bring your ticket with you and we will validate it with a stamp. Please remember to sign the book at the security desk on the first floor.

Phone: 302-655-9880 ext 23
or bsilverman[at]brandywinecounseling[dot]org

Thank you,
Basha Silverman and Sister Jean Rupertus