By using Assertive Community Treatment as part of its highly successful integrated dual diagnosis treatment approach, WestBridge helps participants gain the skills they need to live healthy, productive lives. Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) uses a team approach to meet the individual needs of people diagnosed with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. As an evidence-based practice designed specifically for people with severe and persistent symptoms of mental illness, ACT helps teach ways to meet basic needs and develop confidence to live in a community. Rather than working with care receivers in an office or hospital, ACT team members work with participants in their homes and in their neighborhoods.
Working with the participants in their homes allows the team to recognize where the stressors of daily life arise and how to provide the best support. If the need for a higher level of care arises, the ACT team will take responsibility for coordinating the admission and discharge process and will maintain contact with the participant and family throughout the stay. WestBridge’s outpatient programs, referred to as Care Management, use the Assertive Community Treatment model to help people overcome issues of substance use, housing instability, poor access to health care, and legal difficulties that often accompany mental illness. Team members also work closely with each individual on goal setting.
Through the use of Personalized Achievement Agendas, participants in WestBridge’s integrated dual diagnosis treatment work with their families and their clinical team to track progress in accomplishing the everyday tasks needed to live independently. Team members have expertise in psychiatry, psychology, nursing, social work, dual diagnosis rehab and employment.
Key features of WestBridge’s Assertive Community Treatment approach include:
- An interdisciplinary team of practitioners that works with each individual, so the participant receives a continuum of personalized services from the same group of people.
- ACT teams that work with participants in community settings to practice activities of daily living, including finance management, family life, housing, recreation, vocational training and health care.
- Services whenever and wherever they are needed; Care Managers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than referring participants to multiple programs, the Care Managers provide whatever services are needed.
- Mentors provide side-by-side support in the evenings and on weekends.
Assertive Community Treatment Continues As Long As Needed
The services offered in Assertive Community Treatment have no time limit. Participants are not discharged from the program, but continue to receive support as long as it is wanted or needed. As participants progress in their abilities to thrive, they may interact with their team members less frequently even though assistance continues to be available as questions or stressful situations arise. ACT team members do not have individual caseloads; instead the team shares responsibility. If a team member goes on vacation or leaves the program, participants still will have support from familiar people who understand their particular needs.
Family education and support services, which are a key component of all WestBridge’s integrated dual diagnosis programs, also continue throughout Assertive Community Treatment. Family members will learn their role in helping overcome the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorders. They will have access to information about symptom management, medication, self-help groups, and coordination of services with other health care providers.