Receiving Comfort from HOPE
Since June 2012, the Behavioural Support Services – Mobile Support Teams (BSS-MST) have assisted over 500 clients and caregivers in York Region and North York. They work both with people living in their own homes and with people in long-term care homes.
One such client, “Pauline”, is a 68-year-old resident of a long-term care home who, over the years, had made several attempts to take her own life. This behaviour had recently increased and there had been three such attempts in a very short period. This led to an assessment by to the Psychogeriatric Outreach Services at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences who referred Pauline to the BSS-MST.
The Mobile Support Team began to visit regularly, and Pauline was eventually able to open up to the team’s Personal Support Worker who sat, listened and learned. This enabled the team to develop a plan for the future.
“Religion and hope played a huge part in Pauline’s care plan,” said Debra Walko, LOFT Director of Senior Services and the Lead for the Behavioural Support Services – Mobile Support Teams. “Pauline is also blind and now wears a bracelet given to her by the team that reads “HOPE”. It provides comfort and helps to remind her there are so many people who care about her.”
Pauline and the BSS-MST team also created a recorded non-suicide agreement using her own voice and words to express how she feels at those dark or, as she calls them ‘horrible’ times. When she plays the recording she can hear her own voice encouraging herself on how to move past it.
Taking into account her beliefs about going to heaven and religious views on suicide, and using HOPE as the pathway to increase her feelings of self-worth and value, the team was able to give Pauline a way to express herself.
“At the end of the day, her own strength is what carried her through,” said Walko. “She just needed a little guidance to see things in a new way.”