The following week Drake was scheduled to meet Rick Jennings at The House of Hope. Rick had been frustrated with the way the program was running in the mental health wing. The present program for the residents concentrated on the basics. The rehabilitation counselors had most of their clients on some kind of individualized program plan. Many of theses IPPs focused on the residents’ smoking habits. People with schizophrenia have an unusually higher rate of smokers than does the average population. The percentage of residents who smoke in a mental health facility can be as high as ninety percent. At The House of Hope mental health wing fifteen out of their present twenty residents are smokers.
Except for a few residents who had proved that they were capable of managing their own supply of tobacco, most clients were on some kind of smoke plan. The smoke plans were viewed as a way of controlling the residents’ tobacco consumption. The primary goal was to make the client’s tobacco last for one month until they received there next cheque from the government. The secondary goal was to encourage the clients not to smoke as heavily for the benefit of their own health.
There was also a benefit for the staff. When a government cheque arrived a day or two later in the month some clients would have exhausted their supply of cigarettes. The temporary withdrawal from nicotine would cause these clients extreme distress. Their anxiety levels would rise to the breaking point. Most would try anything in their power to get a few cigarettes to tide them over. They would try to get other residents to lend them cigarettes, would ask staff if they could bum a cigarette, and would even trade or sell their few personal possessions for cigarettes. It was definitely to the staff’s benefit not to have the residents run out of cigarettes before they got their next cheque.
The second most common individual program plan was focused on personal hygiene. Many clients with schizophrenia find it a challenge to take a shower and to change into fresh clothes on a daily basis. This type of plan would often involve the resident having a personal hygiene chart made up by his rehabilitation counselor. The resident would need to check in with their counselor on a daily basis to make sure that they had performed their personal hygiene tasks for that day.
Although Rick agreed that these types of IPPs were necessary for the clients he wanted a mental health program that would meet more than just the residents’ basic needs.