Windsor

House of Sophrosyne offers virtual programs for future patients waiting for care

Patients braving long wait times to access treatment at a women-only mental health and addiction care facility are able to use virtual treatment options to receive care in the interim.

The facility's virtual treatment programs were launched to combat long wait times 

Future patients can use the House of Sophrosyne's virtual programs to connect with online case worker Cynthia Maroon. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Patients braving long wait times to access treatment at a women-only mental health and addiction care facility are able to use virtual treatment options to receive care in the interim.

Launched in February 2019, the House of Sophrosyne's virtual programs were designed as a way to provide would-be patients with care — even if they don't have a bed yet. 

That's important for future patients, especially since it can take up to 11 months for a bed at the House of Sophrosyne. 

Wait times for a bed at the House of Sophrosyne can be up to 11 months.

"We knew that it was really important that as people are waiting to come in, they have some support from our organization," said Cynthia Maroon, online case worker at the House of Sophrosyne. 

Maroon explained that the House of Sophrosyne offers "weekly webinars" which allow patients to receive care from almost anywhere. 

The webinars cycle through 12 distinct mental health and addiction topics and also prepare patients for the kinds of moments they'll experience when they enrol in an in-person program.

"We talk about harm reduction, we talk about implementing gratitude in starting a recovery practice right away … we provide information on managing the relationship when you come into the House of Sophrosyne and when you're meeting new people and managing how you're going to handle the tough groups that we facilitate," said Maroon.

In addition to serving as a way to receive more information about the facility and its services, the webinars also feature interactive elements that allow future patients to ask Maroon questions live. 

Improving access

The program itself is funded by the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), and Maroon explained she's even able to provide phone support to future patients through the Ontario Telemedicine Network. 

"Right from their home, whether they're still using a mobile phone, a tablet, an iPod, a laptop or a desktop, I can guide them through the process of connecting with me so they have that face-to-face contact," said Maroon. 

The House of Sophrosyne's virtual programs aren't just for Windsorites.

House of Sophrosyne's Geri Klingbile says virtual programs allow women a kind of flexibility not usually afforded when receiving mental health or addiction treatment. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

According to Maroon, the facility's virtual programs are available to anyone in Ontario "when they're referred to the House of Sophrosyne."

The House of Sophrosyne offers a number of different services, but the facility main draw is a five-week-program that can currently only support 15 patients at once.

Geri Klingbile, an addiction counsellor at the House of Sophrosyne, added the virtual programs are especially useful for those women who "maybe can't take that length of time off the job."

"I think it can be a barrier to some women receiving treatment. If they're not able to rearrange their life in order to go away for five weeks at a residential facility, then what do they do?" said Klingbile. "This way, they can come to us here now for the day treatment."

With files from Amy Dodge

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