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Ontario Shores

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Serious About Schizophrenia - Patients Have Goals and Aspirations

A nurse’s role in treating patients with schizophrenia has varied among the course of the years and is a very diverse and fulfilling experience.

Over 30 years ago, much of this role revolved around offering programs in areas such as crafts, ceramic work, horticulture, nutrition and cooking - programs that offered socialization and engagement.

There then became a large emphasis on skills acquisition and the role of the nurse was to individualize treatment rather than offerings based on diagnoses. A strong focus on teaching skills in the areas of literacy, money management, communications, computer skills as well as life skills, leisure activity and community integration programs emerged with the hope to best prepare individuals for life in the community.

Moving forward, nurses focused on an individualized approach to care. This type of care focuses on engaging with patients in therapeutic activity that helps enhance their lives, improve self-worth and self-esteem and ultimately prepare individuals for education, employment and volunteer work.

In recent years there’s been a stronger focus on supported education and employment support. Often, barriers surrounding the illness of schizophrenia can prevent individuals from finishing high school, post-secondary education, securing gainful employment and volunteer work, or exploring their post-secondary goals.

Ontario Shores offers a comprehensive supported education program through Vocational Services that addresses the individual and significant needs of patients. The Ontario Shores Supported Education Program (OSSEP) and the Grove School Program, a partnership program with Durham District School Board, aim to support patients in fulfilling their education goals through adult upgrading, high school credit attainment, basic literacy and numeracy skills, computer skills teaching and post-secondary support.

Lori Richardson, mental health nurse in the Vocational Services department at Ontario Shores reflects on her experience with patients living with schizophrenia through these diverse programs, “Patients who participate in the Grove School Program and the OSSEP Program have goals to finish their secondary education and many aspire to complete post-secondary programs. Both of these programs support patients in reaching their goals and infuse HOPE on the road to recovery.”

There has been constant change throughout the years in treating patients living with schizophrenia - the philosophy has changed from offering interventions based on diagnoses to individualized treatment based on patient goals, personal interest and best life.

“Now we are looking at enhancing the patient’s quality of life with a focus on measurable outcomes and patient driven goals. It’s important to look at treatment of psychosis and recovery in partnership with quality of life,” Lori adds.

SERIOUS ABOUT SCHIZOPHRENIA - Ontario Shores worked with Ipsos Marketing to gauge society’s views on schizophrenia in honour of the specialty mental health hospital’s upcoming 100th anniversary. Click here to learn more about the study which inspired this #MindVine series, which looks at the chronic brain disease from multiple angles.