DSH – Atascadero: Treatment and Recovery

Atascadero State Hospital

The residential treatment programs, in conjunction with Recovery and Mall Services, provide a variety of patient, group, and unit-wide skills training, rehabilitative and enrichment activities. These activities are prescribed by the treatment team according to the patient’s identified interests and assessed needs. Included in these activities is a vocational rehabilitation program which provides the patients with the opportunity to learn an increasing number of vocational and work skills under the direction of trained vocational counselors and a variety of school-based classes where patients can improve academic achievement, receive a GED, or pursue advanced independent studies.

Program Management is responsible to ensure a safe and therapeutic environment through the appropriate management of resources and the provision of recovery based treatment and rehabilitation services specific to the patients’ needs.

The residential treatment programs, in conjunction with Recovery and Mall Services (RMS), provide a variety of individualized, small-group, unit and program wide skills training, rehabilitation, and supplemental activities. These activities are prescribed by the treatment team according to the patient’s identified needs. When indicated, patient psychotherapy, vocational training, and educational training are also provided.

Treatment Plan

Treatment planning is directed toward the goal of helping patients to recover from psychiatric disability, which includes the reduction of symptoms, acquisition of skills for coping with the effects of mental illness, successful fulfillment of constructive adult roles, and the development of supports, which in combination will permit maximum independence and quality of life. The planning process offers the patient, family members, relatives, significant others, and authorized representatives the full opportunity to participate meaningfully in the recovery and discharge process.

Each patient will have a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan based on the integrated assessments of mental health professionals. Therapeutic and rehabilitation services are designed to address each patient’s needs and to assist the patient in meeting his specific treatment goals, consistent with generally accepted professional standards of care. Such plans are developed and reviewed on a regular basis in collaboration with the patient.

Treatment Team

The treatment team consists of an interdisciplinary core of members, including at least the patient, treating psychiatrist, psychologist, rehabilitation therapist, social worker, registered nurse, and psychiatric technician sponsor, and may include the patient’s family, guardian, advocates, and attorneys as appropriate. Based on the patient’s needs, other members may also include but are not limited to: dietitian, pharmacist, teacher, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, vocational services staff, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Families and officials (CONREPs, Conservators, etc.) who will be responsible for outpatient services may be included as active participants with the team and may be of considerable assistance in assessment, planning, treatment, and post-hospital care of the patients. At the time of admission, families shall be notified so that they may meet with the team, provided the patient gives consent for notification.

Provision of Treatment, Rehabilitation, and Supplemental Activities

Our goal is to provide individualized active recovery services that focus on maximizing the functioning of persons with psychiatric disabilities. We endeavor to identify, support, and build upon each recovering patient’s strengths to achieve his maximum potential towards his hopes, dreams, and life goals.

Recovery and Mall Services (RMS):

RMS is a clinical treatment program providing specialized day and evening services for all patients upon direct referral from the treatment teams throughout the hospital. Services may be provided centrally or on an outreach basis on the patient's residential unit, either regularly scheduled or on a consultative basis, as requested by the treatment team. RMS also provides space for groups conducted by staff from the residential units.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) Mall

The PSR Mall is a centralized approach to delivering services where the patients and the staff from throughout the hospital come together to participate in services. Malls represent more of a centralized system of programming rather than a reference to a specific building or certain location. Mall interventions are provided, as much as possible, in the context of real-life functioning and in the rhythm of life of the patient. Thus, a PSR mall extends beyond the context of a building or "place," and its services are based on the needs of the patient, not the needs of the program, the staff members or the institution.

PSR Malls are designed to ensure that each patient receives individualized services to promote his increased wellness and ability to thrive in the world. All decisions regarding what is offered through each mall are driven by the needs of the patients served. Mall services are provided in an environment that is culturally sensitive and strengths based.

Services facilitated through the mall include courses and activities designed to help with symptom management, personal skills development and life enrichment. The mall capitalizes on human and staff resources from the entire hospital to provide a larger diversity of interaction and experiences for all patients in the mall.

Central Medical Services

Central Medical Services (CMS) provides definitive medical care and evaluation to all residents in the hospital. These services include radiology, public health, laboratory, physical therapy, dentistry, pharmacy, medical clinics, unit sick call, contractual services inside and outside the hospital, and review of community-based consultations. Services are available to residents on referral from general physicians and psychiatrists who have primary responsibility for the care of patients on residential treatment units. CMS also clinically supervises nursing staff who provide occupational health services to employees.

Trial Competency Program

Patients admitted to the hospital under PC 1370 as Incompetent to Stand Trial receive specialized programming targeted specifically at helping them gain the knowledge and skills necessary to return to court as competent to understand court proceedings and effectively participate in their defense.

Offenders with Mental Health Disorders (OMD) Program:

Patients are paroled to the hospital by authority of the Board of Paroles under provisions of PC 2962 and PC 2964. Patients may be released to parole, placed in Conditional Release Programs or given acivil commitment.

OMDs lack information about medication and symptom management. A significant history of substance abuse is also present in most of these patients. Groups designed to communicate relevant, specific information and teach skills related to successful adaptation to the expected Conditional Release Program placement are primary modes of treatment.

PC2684 Program

The hospital provides mental health services to inmates from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).  Criteria for admission to DSH - Atascadero under this program includes an active Axis I major mental disorder.  The focus of treatment is to stabilize symptoms so that the inmate/patient can function successfully in the Enhanced Outpatient Program at CDCR and/or in the community.