Outpatient Programming includes extended outpatient and continuing care substance abuse treatment services for chemically dependent women. Extended outpatient programming is directed towards:
- Women residing in the community who are in need of support to establish and maintain their recovery and are wanting to avoid the need for a higher level of care
- Women who are on the House of Mercy halfway house waiting list and require services for support until they can be admitted to halfway house programming
- Current House of Mercy clients who are in need of additional treatment services and/or support as they transition to independent living
Continuing care groups comprised of House of Mercy halfway house or extended outpatient alumni or referrals from within the community. These groups (offered in the evenings) provide a group therapy format that women can utilize for support as they face the daily challenges of reinforcing recovery, parenting and overall living skills on their own. Group sessions are facilitated by staff who are available to clients for individual therapy as well as for overall case management. Clients are encouraged to commit to this group for at least one year, secondary to discharge, yet can continue to attend indefinitely. Research indicates that provision of these types of ongoing therapeutic supports is vital in reinforcing positive outcomes.
Outpatient clients may utilize the John R. Grubb/House of Mercy Child Development Center for child-care during treatment programming. They may also be eligible to receive assistance with transportation. Clients participating in outpatient programming have access to a flexible menu/schedule of individual and group counseling services, chemical dependency related educational offerings, parenting classes and self-sufficiency activities—including education and employment assistance.
Diocesan School Program
The Diocesan School Program is a collaborative initiative between House of Mercy and four Catholic Diocesan elementary schools. A full-time nurse and social worker visit each of the sites on a weekly basis to provide medical and psychosocial support. Through the ministry of this project, they actively address students’ emotional, spiritual and physical needs through assessment, diagnosis and planning, intervention, evaluation, interdisciplinary collaboration and management.
The social worker facilitates regular skill-development classes, provides counseling and initiates interventions in such areas as substance abuse, sex education and self-esteem building. The social worker also assists families in obtaining medical insurance or services for their children through federal and state programs, as well as uninsured and under-insured medical clinic patients in obtaining free or reduced medication whenever possible.
The nurse provides numerous health care services for diocesan school students, families and staff. In addition to completing student care plans and providing acute care services, students are educated on various health-related topics, including but not limited to, heart health, the effects of tobacco, oral health and first aid. The nurse also meets with the parents of students with special health needs to develop school plans, provides health services to staff/faculty, develops wellness programming and coordinates educational programming on subjects such as CPR, medication distribution and blood-borne pathogens.
Homeless Outreach Program
The Homeless Outreach Program is a collaborative partnership between House of Mercy and Primary Health Inc. The program provides outpatient chemical dependency services to homeless persons in the Polk county area. House of Mercy staff go to Des Moines-area men’s and women’s shelters to provide a range of services including, but not limited to, psychosocial assessment/treatment, crisis intervention assistance, brief counseling, individual and group counseling, information and referral assistance, financial/resource management help and case management. All House of Mercy staff services and interventions are conducted to assist clients in moving towards self-sufficiency via treatment, transitional housing and/or permanent housing.
The Dental Program is a voluntary initiative involving House of Mercy and several area dentists, hygienists and dental assistants. The program was established to provide dental care to women living at House of Mercy. Although many House of Mercy clients are covered under Title XIX (which has a dental benefit), dental care is extremely difficult for clients to access. The House of Mercy dental program links local volunteer dentists with House of Mercy clients. The clients are initially screened and then referred to participating dentists to be seen for complex restorative work, as needed. Upon completion of the restorative services, the clients are referred back to the House of Mercy dental clinic for ongoing care and prevention services.
In addition to providing much needed assistance to adult clients, the program helps to breakdown some of the barriers between dentists and Title XIX beneficiaries. It is also hoped that the program reinforces the importance of good oral hygiene so mothers ensure that their children receive the dental care they require.
St. Jude Hospital Pregnancy Prevention Program
The St. Jude Hospital Pregnancy Prevention Program is a pregnancy prevention initiative based at St. Jude Hospital in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia, West Indies, and primarily serves the residents of the island’s southern communities. St. Lucia is a small island in the eastern Caribbean with a population of approximately 160,000. One of the leading social and public health problems facing the culture is an epidemic of teenage pregnancy.
The program has two main components. The first involves school based educational programming for adolescents and young adults that focuses on personal growth, increased self-esteem, decision-making, goal setting and information on anatomy, reproduction, pregnancy, parenting, child development, relationships and communication skill development. Participants are encouraged to consider all available options when making decisions that may impact their future.
The second area of emphasis is a hospital-based program offering individual counseling services and employment skills training, as well as educational programming offered through the schools. Presentations are also made to parents and community groups on an as needed basis.
Student Internships and Educational Programming
House of Mercy offers student internships and educational programming to students, employees and the general public. House of Mercy supports training and internship programs for students as part of its mission and purpose. Students are provided a variety of “real life” experiences as they work on their degrees, from associate of arts to graduate level. A number of medical professionals (medical, nursing, pharmacy, podiatry and physician assistant students) also participate in programming in order to gain valuable experience in working with diverse groups of acutely ill patients.
House of Mercy offers an extensive menu of educational programs for employees as a means to enhance their existing skills or support their development of additional skill sets. A major focus of in-house education is the building and maintenance of cutting edge, state-of-the-art clinical skills to implement and reinforce research-based programming.
House of Mercy personnel regularly provide educational programs to community groups and organizations on topics related to the various programs and services offered by the facility. Staff frequently guest lecture at area colleges and universities as a part of the facility’s commitment to community education and outreach.