There’s historically been a pioneer spirit in Mono County. That spirit is alive and well to this day; you see it as you travel along Highway 395. You hear it when you stop and talk to the residents of communities such as Bridgeport and Lee Vining. That pioneer spirit is also alive and well in the Mono County Behavioral Health Department, where the staff is urged to be creative and look for new ways to engage clients and provide services.
The result has been the creation of a “Whole Person Wellness Approach” that looks at the totality of the client – not just the mental health side. It started by asking a consumer on each visit if he or she wanted a blood pressure check; from there, staff began tracking weight and surveying consumers on their perceived wellness. Soon, staff was having conversations with clients in a manner they never had before. Both staff and clients began to see the bigger health picture.
When Riverside County Medical Center staff compared its rate of surgical site infections (SSI) to other hospitals around the country, they realized they had an issue. The hospital’s ratio of infections was more than 200 percent above the recognized baseline. Something had to be done; something was done. And the result has been an amazing turnaround for the Medical Center that has resulted in improved patient care, heightened patient safety and a reduction in medical care costs.
To combat this high infection rate, the hospital formed a team consisting of surgeons, anesthesiologists, OR nurses, infection preventionists, housekeeping personnel and researchers. The team developed protocol for staff and education plan for patients to follow. Beyond following new protocols, staff found themselves participating in a cultural change.
Most of us have swatted away marauding mosquitos, attacking from the sky—well now the mosquitos have to watch out for the air power too. In San Bernardino County, the Mosquito Vector Control Program is collaborating with the County’s Sheriff’s Aviation Division, and using state-of-the-art technology to identify potential mosquito breeding sites: unmaintained swimming pools.
In 2012, West Nile Virus – transmitted by mosquitos – was being reported at record levels. Dozens of cases occurred in San Bernardino County, where concerns were elevated over the fact that more than 18,000 homes in the County had been foreclosed. Many of these residences included unmaintained swimming pools, ideal breeding grounds for mosquitos. Unfortunately, the County’s Mosquito Vector Control staff was only made aware of potential s breeding site when they received a complaint. This limited abatement since staff had few ways to find green pools on their own since most aren’t visible from the street.
Clinical therapists are taking their jobs a few steps above and beyond the typical call of duty in Riverside County. In fact, they are taking them 39 feet beyond. That’s the length of each of the three mobile clinics that the therapists themselves drive out to different regions of Riverside County. It’s all part of the County’s highly successful Prevention and Early Intervention Mobile Services program.
These mobile clinics, which are specially designed recreational vehicles, bring mental health services to families with children up to 7 years old. The program meets a need to develop services outside the standard clinic model, according to Emma Girard, Senior Clinical Psychologist for Riverside County, who helps lead the project.
I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days last week in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to learn about four very innovative programs. A few weeks ago I spent a Saturday in Tulare County meeting with teens and learning how one county program is enhancing their lives.