Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)
ACT–which stands for Assertive Community Treatment - provides services to consumers who are chronically and persistently mentally ill. Many clients who come to our ACT team have had periods of normal function in their life before they became afflicted. Some have worked at steady jobs. Some have college degrees. All have had their lives forever changed by this devastating illness.
The effects of long term mental illness robs it’s sufferers of the ability to complete simple tasks of daily living and of the ability to live independently in the community. Consumers often have problems with memory and confusion. Clients forget to take their medications or need education in recognizing and reporting side effects to ensure the best medication regime possible.
Treatment consists of frequent contact in the consumer’s living environment; their home, apartment, boarding home or shelter. Highly skilled case managers provide a wide array of services including medication monitoring and life skills training including such basic issues as grooming and hygiene, cooking and shopping for themselves, medication and symptom management skills, budgeting skills and how to access resources in the community such as routine medical and dental care and even how to use the public transportation system. Some consumers also have problems with alcohol and drug abuse. Special classes teach this extremely vulnerable group how to live alcohol and drug free. Caseworkers help with housing, transportation and even socialization skills, for this illness also takes away a person’s sense of self worth.
To qualify a client has to have been hospitalized twice in the last six months or four times in the last two years. In addition, routine case management has to have failed to keep the consumer stable. ACT is the most intense level of outpatient services available. It is considered to be long term treatment with some consumers in treatment for two years or more. Others receive services during a period of crisis and once stabilized, return to a lower level of outpatient care at LifeNet.
Some notable points about LifeNet’s A.C.T. Team services.
- ACT services are the highest level of outpatient care available, a “hospital on wheels”.
- ACT serves clients suffering from chronic mental illnesses: 60% Bipolar Disorder, 40% Schizophrenia.
- 1% suffer from Major Depression psychotic features.
- 1 in 5 graduate & remain stable.
- Many suffered since late teenage and young adult years.
- Over 50% have co-morbidity with alcohol & drug abuse.
- Many ACT clients are also homeless.
- 50% have family or social support.
- ACT clients have multiple hospital stays over the previous two years.
- ACT clients average treatment for 12months.
- ACT team coordinates treatment between multiple community entities including; Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Food Stamps, Landlords, Public Transportation Medical Providers, Hospitals, Psychiatric Hospitals, Vocational Providers including the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DARS) 30% ACT clients on Disability name LifeNet as payee.
- LifeNet’s ACT team is widely regarded as the best in NorthStar based on the amount of time we spend with consumers, our ability to reduce hospitalization and our ability to return consumers to lower levels of care.
- LifeNet’s ACT Team has doubled in 3 years to 10 case managers, 2 nurses and 2 team leaders treating 110 clients.
- 7 case managers have a Masters Degree or better.
- One case manager is completing supervision to become a LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor).
- Two case managers are completing supervision to be LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker).