DLC’s New FACT Team: “A Hospital without Walls”
December 12th, 2019
David Lawrence Center has a new FACT (Florida Assertive Community Treatment) team that provides community-based mental health care for adults experiencing severe and persistent mental health challenges.
The FACT team includes nurses, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a housing specialist, a vocational specialist, a substance use specialist, and several therapists.
The goal is to provide all services needed so the client can function independently.
“We are like a hospital on wheels, or a hospital without walls,” says Beverly Belli, DLC’s Adult Community Services Director, who oversees FACT. “We take services and medicines to the clients, sometimes seeing them every day. It’s a much more intense level of care.”
FACT Team Leader Ronald Jean Gilles says their clients often have schizophrenia or severe bipolar disorder. “Many have been released from state hospitals and are not yet able to maintain stability in the community,” says Gilles. “This is where FACT starts our services.”
One former client received FACT services after experiencing a psychotic episode. The young man had schizoaffective disorder and was delusional. The FACT team intervened, and after the man received services and proper medication, he was able to be reintegrated into the community and is now doing well.
“Mental health issues can be helped with treatment and medication,” stresses Belli. “Many people don’t understand that. People think that once you’re mentally ill, you’re always mentally ill. But treatment and medication can help them live normal, healthy lives.”
Before FACT, many of the individuals have had repeated hospitalizations, admissions to state hospitals, multiple emergency room visits, homelessness, and/or incarceration. The FACT team can provide services in a location convenient for the client – including within homes, work sites, jails, hospitals, and community settings.
Wherever the FACT team meets clients, the goal is always the same: to help individuals integrate – or reintegrate – into society as productive members of the community and improve their quality of life.