Residential Treatment

Residential Treatment:

Rogers is a comprehensive psychiatric hospital, nationally recognized for specialty residential treatment programs for eating disorders, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders for children, teens and adults.

Life. Worth. Living.

August 9, 2016 - 9:27am

Rogers InHealthIn a recent article published by Healthcare Business Insights (HBI), Rogers InHealth was acknowledged for its efforts reducing mental health stigma, prioritizing the voice of lived experience and improving quality of care through an evidence-based model.

“It was an honor for Rogers InHealth to receive recognition from HBI, considering their reputation for spreading best practice research and implementation resources across the healthcare industry,” said Suzette Urbashich, co-director of Rogers InHealth. “It’s a sign that we’ve been using an effective method to help people improve their outlook on mental health and eliminate the shame or stigma they were once challenged with.”

TLC4, the evidence-based model InHealth is based in, was originally created by the Illinois Institute of Technology and partnering behavioral health organizations. “TLC4 stands for: targeted, local, credible, continuous and change-focused contacts,” says Urbashich.


Targeted Contact
For people to feel comfortable reaching out for support and resources, our community must become aware of their biases toward people with mental health challenges. “People tend to experience stigma in different sectors of the community, such as a health care, faith-based, schools, workplace or civic groups,” says Sue McKenzie, co-director of Rogers InHealth. “Identifying sectors of our community that have a big impact on people’s lives and then targeting efforts to work directly with these sectors is crucial to any effort to increase inclusion and effective support.”


Local Contact
Every person has a method for learning which works best for him or her, because we process information differently. For InHealth, that means tailoring their approach for the various groups they serve. “One approach for reducing mental health stigma may not translate the same in a different community,” says Urbashich. “For example, we’re going to create a much different plan for Crivitz than we would for Racine, based on the different cultures of those communities.”


Credible Contact
Whether discussing mental illness or another topic, it always helps to talk to someone who genuinely understands what you’re feeling. “As humans, we’re more likely to accept what someone has to tell us when it comes from a trustworthy peer,” says McKenzie. “Someone who is a member of the targeted group will have the most profound impact on the rest of the group and will more easily shift others toward a more recovery-focused way of thinking.”


Continuous Contact
“When you’re trying to change the way you’ve been thinking about mental health for years, it takes more than just one event to change your mindset for life,” says Urbashich. Continuous contact emphasizes planning that offers many opportunities to get to know people in recovery over an extended period of time as a way to effectively change the way you perceive those with mental health challenges.


Change-focused Contact
The real test to determine if the targeted group has reduced their stigma during the process is to see if they act differently. “We might encourage a group to partner with local mental health groups, host a support group, or participate in another activity that has them spread the message they’ve come to accept,” says McKenzie.

“As we’ve offered consultation on the application of the TLC4 model to communities, they have found it to be very helpful guidance as they make plans to increase inclusion and support for all facing mental health challenges,” says Urbashich. “We’re looking forward to the positive mental health stories we’ll spread and the lives we’re going to touch in the future.”

August 1, 2016 - 2:38pm

Barry Thomet, IOCDF Service AwardOn July 30, Barry Thomet, local outreach representative, received the Patricia Perkins IOCDF Service Award at the 23rd Annual OCD Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

The award recognizes Thomet’s advocacy and dedication to individuals with mental illness and addiction through more than 20 years of service at Rogers Memorial Hospital. As the marketing liaison for the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), he’s made it his personal mission to acquire as many resources as possible to improve the lives of children, teens, adults and families affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

“Over the years, Barry has blazed a trail,” says Stacy McGauvran-Hruby, director of marketing at Rogers. “He served as Rogers’ first community outreach representative and spread the word about Rogers’ first OCD partial program, contributing greatly to the record number of people served.”

Not only is Barry invaluable to those he serves, but he’s a joy to his colleagues. “Barry’s overflowing, warm personality is contagious and his passion for helping those in need is inspiring,” says Jerry Halverson, MD, medical director of Rogers Memorial Hospital. “He’s gone above and beyond to ensure families experiencing a mental health crisis receive a clear picture about what they can expect in treatment at Rogers, as well as other local and national providers.”

“A little known aspect of Barry's work is that he is a great steward of treatment in general, not just Rogers,” says Paul Mueller, chief executive officer of Rogers Memorial Hospital. “His lightheartedness is complemented by the gentle demeanor he has with those who reach out to him. He knows the difficulty and challenges that individuals with OCD and other mental illnesses face, which makes him one of the best resources for guidance and understanding.”

Thomet also serves on the board of directors of OCD Wisconsin, an affiliate of the IOCDF. Last summer, OCD Wisconsin created a scholarship for local high school students with OCD in his name.

“It’s said that ‘everyone knows Barry,’” adds Mary Jo Wiegratz, national outreach manager. “Whether talking with a caller on the phone, touring a visitor, or connecting with patients and professionals who see his friendly face at the IOCDF annual conference, Barry Thomet has touched a lot of lives and made a difference.”

July 20, 2016 - 12:11pm

Theresa Rogers understood the benefits of gardening in the healing process. The wife of Rogers’ founder, Mrs. Rogers created a magnificent garden which, in the 1920s, drew busloads of people to visit what is now Rogers Memorial Hospital–Oconomowoc. Rogers was known throughout the Midwest for its beautiful landscaping and two miles of natural gardens.

Rogers in the 1920's

Rogers Memorial Hospital circa 1920.

Mrs. Rogers planted a living legacy which endures today. However, it took the perseverance of Rita Nolte to return the gardens to their glory and set the stage for an even greater vision which continues to evolve.

When Rita joined Rogers in the 1990s as a patient assistant, the gardens were dreadfully unkempt. She wanted our patients to have a serene view that could bring peace to their often chaotic health situations.

Moving Into Action

In 1990, Rita’s role was to monitor her patients’ emotions and assist in therapy. She would often look out the windows of the main hospital down into what was then called the kitchen garden, which was filled with raspberries, rhubarb and other produce grown in the era of Dr. and Mrs. Rogers.

But in 1990, the kitchen garden had grown wild. Rita was worried about what patients and visitors would think of the sight. “When patients are in distress, they don’t need more chaos,” she says. So, beginning in 1991, the then-patient assistant began volunteering two hours per day, two days per week pulling weeds with her own tools in what is known today as the center courtyard.

Finding Others Who Believed in the Mission

In 1992, Rita found two volunteers; she needed additional hands if big changes were ever going to be accomplished. “They did this all on their own time,” she says. “It was a real commitment by people who saw the spiritual nature of gardens, plant materials and how it could renew people,” she says.

Volunteers were given a free plant for every 2 hours of their time. “That particular practice is what I used throughout the rest of the restoration process,” she says, “If people helped, they went home with a plant.”

Rita took on another garden in 1993 located next to an old barn on the property, while still continuing to work on the center courtyard. By this time, Rita formed a sub-committee of volunteers and began planning a barn sale in September of that year to collect funds.

By 1994, Rita was forming a new dream and began collecting input for redesigning Rogers’ largest gardens—the Theresa Rogers Gardens. She formed a full committee to create an implementation process and in April, they held their first official meeting. By May, the center courtyard was complete and had a vegetable garden, grass center, flower bed and picnic tables for staff and patients to eat their lunches and enjoy the peaceful natural space. It was a total transformation from the weed-ridden patch Rita once looked at from the hospital’s window.

Original Urn

One of the original urns.

At the end of May, Rita spaded and weeded the front yard of the hospital. She planted flowers in two large empty concrete urns sitting at the hospital entrance, which were original to the grounds. Today, the urns, other original pieces and plants can be found in the Theresa Rogers Garden.

The Infancy of Horticultural Therapy at Rogers

In March 1995, Rita was approached by leaders of the adolescent residential program who found many teens enjoyed the outdoors and wanted to help Rita garden.

“Spending time in the environment was enjoyable for the patients,” she says. Adolescents wanted to help with everything from hauling brush to pulling weeds, all to enjoy the benefits of fresh air and planting.

Rita Takes her Cause to the Board

Rita made an appointment with the Rogers Memorial Hospital Board in April 1995 as her funds from the barn sale were quickly dwindling and she needed additional help to continue restoring the gardens to the original splendor that Theresa Rogers created. She explained her philosophy to the board, as well as the healing and spiritual properties of the gardens, saying, “We have 56 acres of property, we have trees, we have lake frontage, we have small ponds, but we have rack and ruined gardens.”

To Rita’s surprise, the board awarded her a large contribution for the renovation, which greatly surpassed her initial goal. She used these funds to maintain the landscapes she had created and worked diligently with patients and volunteers to keep up with the gardens.

In 1999, Nolte was awarded an even larger donation from the board and finally had enough funds to begin carrying out her master plan for the Theresa Rogers Gardens, which included a traditional English style matching the heritage of Dr. and Mrs. Rogers. The design process began that year and was developed by Margaret Harvey, landscape architect of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Dorset, England.

Keeping the Gardens Traditional

Like Dr. and Mrs. Rogers, Rita has English heritage. In 2000, she traveled to England for an authentic experience of English culture and to study the traditional gardens for her work in Oconomowoc. “Sometimes, we had to find similar alternatives to the English plants because the climate is different in Wisconsin,” Rita says.

Realizing the extent of the work ahead of her, in 2000 Rita moved from her recently acquired position in the purchasing department into a solely gardening position. She worked four to six hours per day, five days per week from March until November on her life’s passion of transforming the gardens to their full potential, which was finally reached in 2001. “Early on as a child, I read hero stories and I really wanted to do something to make a difference in this world, and I truly didn’t know that this was it until it was done,” she says.

Working in the gardens wasn’t just smelling the roses. The biggest challenge Rita faced was getting water access in the gardens. Before a pump was installed in 2012, she and other volunteers had to haul hoses to the gardens.

Stature dedicated to Rita

Statue dedicated to Rita Nolte.

Rita’s Final Reflection

Volunteers and patients not only helped build the gardens, but many have experienced the healing properties of nature that Rita stands by. She says one patient told her, “Pulling these weeds is like pulling the trouble out of my life.”

Another patient made discoveries about her own perfectionisms by working in nature. Rita notes, “She learned some plants die no matter what you do, and that’s not failure, that’s just the natural life cycle of a plant,” says Rita. “You can do the best you can and things don’t always turn out. She knew the gardens were still beautiful even though they may have had a few weeds or dead flowers.”

Rita credits her passion and knowledge of gardening to the teachings of her mother, grandmothers and grandfather. Regardless of the amount of time and work she put into the gardens at Rogers Memorial Hospital, she insists,

“The real story is the garden, I just happened to be in it and it was my privilege.”

July 1, 2016 - 8:46am

Eric Storch, PhD Rogers Behavioral Health’s Tampa, FloridaNashville, Tennessee; and Skokie, Illinois; locations offer a variety of partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs for children, teens and adults with anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. The Rogers’ teams, however, often find their patients also dealing with comorbid conditions related to anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are quite common among youth and adults and these disorders frequently co-occur with disordered eating behaviors,” says Eric Storch, PhD, clinical director of Rogers Behavioral Health–Tampa Bay and a Morsani College of Medicine professor. “Although exact prevalence rates are difficult to specify for many reasons, we receive many calls from individuals seeking treatment for comorbid eating and anxiety symptoms.”

Matthew Brown, DO, child and adolescent psychiatrist of Rogers Behavioral Health–Chicago, explains that disordered eating habits can develop from a person’s fears. “Many eating issues stem from some sort of anxiety, such as feeling too fat to be loved, nervous that he or she will never be loved or desiring to be the ‘perfect’ weight,” he says. “Many eating disorders are about control and control tends to be driven by anxiety.”

But do anxiety disorders always revolve around food? “Youth and adults presenting for intensive treatment of anxiety disorders at our regional locations display a wide variety of difficulties. These difficulties range from social difficulties; to fears of specific places, people or things; to nearly anything imaginable,” says Joshua Nadeau, PhD, clinical supervisor of eating disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder services at Rogers–Tampa. “Eating disorders—that is, anxiety manifesting as disordered associations with weight, body shape, or eating habits—are one example of impairment related to anxiety.”

Dr. Storch explains that there currently is not enough research in the field to explain the cause of comorbid anxiety and eating disorders. “To some extent, we focus very little upon the ‘why’ of the disorder and very much upon the ‘what now’ in terms of setting goals and helping our patients to reach them,” he says. “Our treatment program focuses upon providing skills training, reducing ‘maintaining factors’ (those things in your environment that reinforce disordered eating behaviors) and providing ample opportunities for practicing the adaptive skills in multiple settings.”

According to Dr. Storch, it’s important that comorbid conditions like eating disorders and anxiety are treated at the same time. “It is not enough to simply change the specific eating disorder behaviors, as the incorrect thought patterns associated with anxiety will more than likely manifest in other areas, and decrease the patients’ motivation for change in the future,” he says. “Our treatment of eating disorders and comorbid anxiety addresses the full range of complexity that people with these problems experience with the goal of healthy lifestyle, happiness and improved quality of life.”

“The Rogers regional programs represent a shift towards more evidence-based methods of addressing patients with anxiety disorders that manifest in disordered eating behaviors,” adds Dr. Nadeau. “Specifically, our programs utilize an adaptation of extended cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to provide education, teach and build skill competencies in problem areas, ‘defusing’ maintaining factors and building generalization across settings through significant amounts of skills practice.”

Rogers offers one of a few eating disorder programs that practice not only evidenced-based treatment for eating disorders, but we also have experts in evidenced-based treatment for anxiety as well. “Here we are able to treat the whole patient with the goal of placing them in control of their own lives and teaching them that they can be healthy and they can be successful if they are willing to invest in themselves,” says Dr. Brown.

June 23, 2016 - 10:57am

Compassion FatigueEvery day, patients with trauma or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), courageously work with therapists, nurses and other professionals to decrease anxieties surrounding horrific events. Over time, the trauma patients endure and the anxieties that come along with it can become harmful for care providers.

“Secondary PTSD, or compassion fatigue, are non-clinical terms used when describing distress caused by treating the trauma of others,” says Jennifer Parra-Brownrigg, professional adult counselor at Rogers Memorial Hospital–Brown Deer. “Unlike burnout, compassion fatigue occurs between the provider and the person they’re caring for, not between the provider and their job expectations and employer.”

In her first position out of graduate school at a women’s crisis center, Parra-Brownrigg found many staff members gravitating to her to share their concerns. “In a crisis center, the client can release the anxiety, whereas staff were bottling tension as long as they’ve worked there,” she says. “After really listening to their worries and watching them become run down, I wanted to find ways I could help and became more interested in secondary PTSD.”

Parra-Brownrigg offers presentations to nurses at Moraine Park Technical College. “Nurses, along with therapists, have historically been some of the most prominent professions with a high turnout of secondary trauma,” she says. “I offer techniques for dealing with the incredibly difficult things that we hear and help with on a regular basis, because we can’t assume they’ll go away on their own.”

Skills Parra-Brownrigg teaches to prevent compassion fatigue include:

  • Developing clear boundaries between work and home
  • Building a strong connection with other treatment providers
  • Keeping a list of self-care activities
  • Using personal values as foundation for motivation
  • Getting to know yourself, how you grieve and what you can control
  • Mindfulness activities

Parra-Brownrigg would also like to offer support her colleagues. “Hopefully we will be able to incorporate yoga, mindfulness walks or other self-care techniques into our work routine in the near future.”

PTSD therapists can rely on one another. “We can ask ourselves how we can be more effective in helping each other stay strong as a team,” says Parra-Brownrigg. “Accepting our limitations is difficult.”

Parra-Brownrigg says her goals are to first educate and then create preventive action. “We’re so present with our patients that we can’t help but invest part of ourselves,” she says. “We can refill our energy and lean on each other to stay strong, focused and able to provide care for the long-run.” 

June 20, 2016 - 1:36pm

OCD Awareness Walk 2016This Saturday, 20 Rogers Memorial Hospital team members participated in the second annual OCD Awareness Walk in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The two-mile walk around Fowler Lake was hosted by OCD Wisconsin, an affiliate of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF).

Rogers was the lead sponsor for the event. Nicholas Farrell, PhD, clinical supervisor at the residential Eating Disorder Center, offered a few words before the walk.

Emphasizing the seriousness and prevalence of the disorder, Dr. Farrell explained OCD affects the overall quality of life of many families every day. “Most recent estimates suggest that OCD is present between 2 and 3 million American adults,” he says. “That’s roughly the population of Houston, Texas.” Approximately 1 half million American children and teens also have OCD.

“There is hope and with everyone’s efforts at this walk, we can spread the message that people are not alone in their struggles and there are several effective treatments available,” says Dr. Farrell.

A student with OCD was also awarded the $500 Barry Thomet Scholarship for her outstanding success in school and perseverance in treatment.

June 14, 2016 - 8:05am

Psychiatry residents treating eating disordersAccording to Mental Health America, eating disorders may occur with a wide range of other mental health conditions, including anxiety disordersdepression and other mood disordersposttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders. Because these conditions are commonly co-occurring, psychiatrists will likely have a patient who has an eating disorder at some point in their career, regardless of discipline.

Over the past four years, the eating disorder inpatient unit at Rogers Memorial Hospital–Oconomowoc has accepted four to six Medical College of Wisconsin residents for four-week elective rotations. In psychiatry, residency programs are four-year commitments. In July 2015, the Medical College approached Rogers to create a more formal agreement allowing eight residents each year to participate in a required eating disorder rotation at Rogers during the residents’ third year of training.

Mara Pheister, MD, director of residency education in psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin, says the relationship benefited both parties. “We found Rogers’ eating disorder unit to be very unique and one that we don’t have any experience with in our program, so that seemed to be something that would work well for both Rogers and the Medical College,” she says.

A recent graduate of the Medical College residency program was also coming on board at Rogers. “It was helpful that Dr. Elizabeth Hamlin, an adult psychiatrist here at Rogers-Oconomowoc, was also joining our team right as she was finishing up her own residency,” adds Brad Smith, MD, medical director of eating disorder services. “She was interested in helping train the residents and we knew she would be well-versed with the program. It all just came together at the right time.”

Even though the residents are only at Rogers for a few weeks, they gain a large amount of experience. “Our residents primarily work on the eating disorder inpatient unit because there is a higher flow of patients than in our lower levels of care, which creates more learning opportunities,” says Dr. Smith.

“The inpatient unit is also a familiar level of care for psychiatry residents, who typically come to us with extensive experience in various inpatient psychiatry settings,” he says. “They are very accustomed to the general work flow and demands of an inpatient setting, and now get to experience how to provide treatment for individuals with eating disorders in that level of care.” The psychiatry residents also gain experience in the residential level of care which is less familiar to them.

Residents are evaluated on their performance on the unit by Dr. Smith and Dr. Hamlin. “Each resident is assigned four to six patients to follow closely and keep the same normal routine that an attending psychiatrist would,” says Dr. Smith. “That includes labs, charting, vitals, medications and reviewing what has happened with each patient over the last 24 hours with Dr. Hamlin.”

Not every resident will treat eating disorders in their professional career. “Even if the residents aren’t planning on going into eating disorder work, we hope they have a positive experience with us and may find another area of psychiatry they would like to practice at Rogers,” says Dr. Smith. “They get an opportunity to see a very structured way of delivering cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and experience a private hospital setting, which may be different than their other experiences.”

“It’s a great setting to learn and increase their understanding about how exposure and response prevention (ERP) works in eating disorders treatment,” adds Dr. Hamlin. “Our treatment also has a strong focus on experiential therapy.”

Overall, the program helps residents become more familiar with the very best of the community’s resources. “The majority of our residents stay in the Milwaukee area to practice, so it’s important for them to have working knowledge of the different treatment options and systems that are available in our area,” says Dr. Pheister. “Each system participating in the program has different strengths, so it’s especially helpful for the residents to learn in the different areas of expertise at each location.”

But what do the residents think about the program? “Since the residency program at Rogers is still new, we’ve only had about six residents rotate through so far, but the response has been very positive,” says Dr. Pheister.

Marc Gunderson, MD, a current resident with the Medical College, is among those who value their residency program at Rogers. “I have a new appreciation for the pathology and comorbidities associated with eating disorders,” he says. “I have a better sense of what treatment for these patients involves and will be better able to assess whether a patient requires an increased level of treatment.”

The challenging experience helps residents prepare for conditions they will likely encounter. “This is a pathology we get little exposure to on many of our other rotations,” says Dr. Gunderson. “Eating disorders are complex and often comorbid with other disorders, which makes for multi-faceted treatment.”

Dr. Hamlin explains that the residents are educationally prepared, but have not had much previous experience working with patients with eating disorders. “All the residents know how to talk to patients and handle medications, but not all know eating disorder pathology or how to approach patients separately from their disorder,” says Dr. Hamlin. “They’re surprised about the variety in each patient’s eating disorder. Each disorder is as different as each person.”

In a world where face-to-face psychiatry is getting harder to find, the additional time spent with psychiatry residents most importantly helps patients. “They feel good that someone is learning from their journey with an eating disorder and they really benefit from the extra one-on-one time with another clinician,” says Dr. Hamlin.

Rogers partners with various universities, colleges and professional organizations to offer graduate placements and practicums in multiple disciplines throughout the system.

June 10, 2016 - 8:45am

Stephanie Eken, MD and Amy Mariaskin, PhDHosted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), the 23rd Annual OCD Conference gathers a unique group of researchers, therapists, families and individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) from around the globe to share research, techniques and personal experiences with OCD. Over the years, acceptance to present at the conference has become more competitive and attendance has steadily risen.

For this year’s conference in Chicago, Ill., IOCDF received 400 proposals for 140 available workshops, support groups and evening activity slots. Fifteen Rogers representatives will present, including Stephanie Eken, MD, regional medical director, and Amy Mariaskin, PhD, clinical co-director of Rogers Behavioral Health–Nashville.

Sharing New Resources and Experiences

“There are few OCD providers spread out across the country and even across the world,” says Dr. Mariaskin. “We rarely have an opportunity to be in the same place and share knowledge.”

Both doctors have previously presented at the event and enjoy gathering new, enriching knowledge each year—and sharing it as well. “It’s important for us to present because Rogers offers levels of care that very few in the country provide,” says Dr. Eken. “I’ve presented to both clinicians and families because each group wants to know what the treatment experience could be like.”

In addition to academic and clinical presentations, the family member and personal testimonies keep the true purpose of the conference at the forefront. “I love to hear the parent and child presentations,” says Dr. Eken. “I think they’re amazing.”

A Preview of Select Presentations

In collaboration with other professionals, Dr. Mariaskin will help children develop their own powers in the workshop “Superheroes vs. OCD-Villains: Using ACT to Conquer OCD.” “The workshop is based in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and this will be the second year we’re offering it,” she says. “Kids will get to build their own masks and see themselves as superheroes after we give them tools to fight their OCD. Last year the kids had a great time.”

With their peers, Drs. Eken and Mariaskin will also present “Treatment of OCD in Young Children.” “As hard as it is to get anyone on board with treatment that requires confrontation with feared stimuli, with kids it’s even more difficult because they live in the moment,” she says. “It’s hard to convince children that facing their anxiety—which feels terrible at the time—will help them feel better in the future. We will talk about these challenges in treatment and how to make it fun and developmentally appropriate.”

Symptoms of OCD can also present differently in children than in adults. “It’s developmentally appropriate for children to have some rituals and strong preferences,” says Dr. Mariaskin. “We’ll offer advice on how to tease out these symptoms from typical development.”

In the presentation, Dr. Eken will discuss medications for children with OCD and how to avoid overprescribing. “Sometimes, children are given medications that could probably be avoided if therapy was also a component of their care,” she says. “We’ll also offer creative ideas for getting a child to take their medications.”

In a second presentation “Family Accommodation in Children and Adolescents with Co-Occurring OCD and Anxiety and Depressive Disorders,” Dr. Eken will discuss how parents can limit accommodation to their child’s disorders. “So many people with OCD have depression related to their lack of regular functioning,” she says. “We’ve offered a presentation on this topic a few years ago, but now we have more data and research to offer.”

Go online for a complete schedule of Rogers’ OCD Conference presentations.

May 31, 2016 - 8:14am

Patient Care GrantsOptimal mental health is critical for overall well-being, but for those struggling with behavioral health challenges, life-changing treatment can be costly. Unfortunately, as with general medical care, insurance doesn’t always cover the total cost of a person’s behavioral health treatment or the length of treatment that may be most beneficial. No one wants to face going without a life-saving medical operation for you or your loved one because of finances. The same is true for your or a loved one’s mental health or addiction care.

With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, insurance coverage for behavioral healthcare has increased, but many families still face tough financial burdens. Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation offers assistance and resources to qualified families whenever possible, and people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety have a unique option available to them.

“With help from generous donors, the Foundation offers a limited number of treatment grants for adults, teens and children with OCD and anxiety and little or no coverage,” says Matthias Schueth, executive vice president of Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation. “We assess whether a person is financially eligible and clinically appropriate for the program. If they are, they may receive a grant for treatment at no cost to them.”

OCD and anxiety are prevalent disorders, but they are treatable, especially when addressed early. Treatment in the program is provided by an experienced Rogers therapist who helps staff a local neighborhood clinic. “Currently, about three to four patients are enrolled in the program, but we can offer care to as many as six,” says Schueth. “It’s pretty unique for families to be able to receive treatment they may have thought was not even an option.”

Patients receiving care through the OCD and anxiety grant receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and an evidence-based treatment approach offered in all Rogers’ programs for OCD and anxiety. “The number of treatment hours is less intensive than in Rogers’ other programs and is tailored to individual need,” says Schueth.

Many are unaware the new legislation may give them more options for treatment. “A lot of people have been discouraged throughout the years because they didn’t have any insurance coverage, so they are not actively looking for services,” says Schueth. “It’s important we tell the community there may be better coverage available and, if not, this grant might help.”

“Hopefully, some will look for treatment for the first time ever,” says Schueth. “We hope this donor support will help patients overcome the stigma of mental illness and seek the help they need.”

How can you apply? Visit Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation’s website, complete and submit your application and participate in the clinical review.

May 16, 2016 - 12:44pm

Nashotah Program CanvasImagine leaving your job and family, picking up everything to move hundreds of miles away to enter treatment for your mental illness or addiction. You’ve been searching for months for a program that can help and for what feels like the hundredth time, a doctor tells you that you are in the right place. Do you believe it? Maybe not—but what if you heard from someone who has actually been there?

Across Rogers Behavioral Health, many prospective patients and families do. Some say there’s something more honest and encouraging about reassurance from someone that has experienced similar struggles and has been in the very program they are about to enter.

Handprints and marks of healing

At Rogers Behavioral Health–Nashville, all patients participate in a ‘”discharge circle” upon discharge from their program. The patient’s family, treatment team and fellow patients talk about the progress that person has made, provide encouraging words and more as they move into lower levels of care or out of programming.

“At the end of that circle, patients paint their hands, put their handprint on the wall of our experiential therapy room and write a quote next to their handprint,” says Kathryn Boyer, experiential therapist at Rogers–Nashville. “The handprint says ‘I was here and I made it through this’ and the quote provides inspiration for future patients.” Each is as individualized as the person who left it, but many have a common theme of finding peace with imperfection.

Staff members in Nashville first started the project for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and contamination anxiety, who, at the end of programming, would be able to paint their hands, give high-fives and avoid over-washing throughout the day. “When they first came to us, they were washing their hands up to 30 times per day, 15 minutes per time. Seeing them be able to do this upon discharge is amazing,” says Boyer.

Several patients have told Boyer the wall provides encouragement to get through programming, especially when first arriving for treatment. “New patients see the discharge circle and all the support that comes from everyone involved in the treatment process, and it’s been very beneficial.”

The large display of handprints is also inspirational for staff. “Some days can be difficult, but it always helps when I go into the experiential therapy room, think about the stories behind each handprint. I’ve learned so much from them,” says Boyer.

Child and adult patients at Rogers Memorial Hospital–Brown Deer contribute to a similar project displaying painted handprints, semicolons and other marks as a sign of overcoming mental health challenges and completing treatment.

Letters and pictures of encouragement

Patients and loved ones of patients in Nashville also write letters of encouragement to future patients and families. “For patients, it feels like they’ve left something here,” says Boyer. “The greatest benefit I’ve seen is for parents whose children are entering treatment. When they see that patients have written something that talks about their progress, it gives them peace of mind.”

Children enrolled in Rogers Behavioral Health–Tampa Bay’s eating disorder partial hospital program and OCD and anxiety partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs , as well as Rogers Behavioral Health–Chicago’s child and adult programs also write letters to future patients. “In Tampa, we keep a book of letters in our office and share it with children and their parents as they begin acclimating to programming,” says Katie Merricks, behavioral specialist at Rogers–Tampa Bay.

But parents aren’t the only family members who benefit from the experience. “Many parents take a copy of their letter home to share with family members, friends and others in their lives so they too can understand what this process has been like,” says Merricks. “We’ve had siblings and grandparents write letters as well, so you really get many perspectives on the treatment process when reading the book.”

Sometimes, young patients choose to draw their personal reflections instead of writing. “The youngest person we’ve had make a letter was an eight-year-old, and it was mainly a drawing and a thank you,” says Merricks. “The handwritten letters and drawings are so much more personal.”

Merricks explains there’s something special about receiving encouragement from a former patient. “We can tell them, as clinicians, that they’re not alone and our treatment is great. But seeing a testimony from someone who’s shared a similar journey and struggles makes them feel so much more comfortable with trusting our care,” she says. “We have parents who pick up and move with their child across the country, leaving little ones and loved ones behind. The letters provide confirmation that they’re making the right decision.”

Canvasses to celebrate

Nashotah Program CanvasIn Nashotah, a residential dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program for high school girls with emotional dysregulation at Rogers Memorial Hospital–Oconomowoc, patients create their own graduation canvases which are displayed in the program’s community space. “The visual personal statements of their recovery journeys which the girls paint inspire others to complete the program,” says Lisa Herpolsheimer, manager of Nashotah.

As in Nashville, inspirational quotes play an important role in the project in Nashotah. “They often write a quote that is meaningful to them from the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and philosophy, such as learning to accept themselves as they are fully and at the same time learning to change and grow,” she says. “Seeing peers finish their canvases makes the other girls look forward to painting their own.”

Herpolsheimer explains that seeing the canvasses also helps newcomers because, though the program can be challenging, it is manageable and they can be successful. “New patients relate well to the realness of the other girls as they see similar interests based on what their paintings represent,” she says. “The girls also look forward to seeing what their peers may choose to paint. Admiring the finished canvas is a way to celebrate recovery.”

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