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Halfway House for the Mentally Ill

Visiting a halfway house

Talk with human services workers or the contact person about their programs that employ behavioral or cognitive interventions or models. Areas to be explored:

- What population participates in the program?
- Who presents the program or interventions?
- How is the effectiveness of their interventions measured?
- How did they determine a need for the program?
- Do they have plans for other programs or interventions which use behavioral or cognitive models and techniques?
- What other models and theories are represented in their programs?

Solution Preview

What population participates in the program?

Persons who are affected by mental illness, mental retardation (Intellectual Disability) or substance abuse. The consumer must be capable of self-care and able to follow simple instructions. The goal is for the halfway house to transition people from complete dependence to more independent living accommodations. Additional skills are taught so that consumers may learn be more self-reliant. When particular skill levels are reached, such as the ability to make simple meals, to keep a living space clean, and time-management skills, the consumer is often allowed to live with a roommate with lessened support from the program.

Who presents the program or interventions?

The Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board (CSB). Currently, the CSB is located in the city of Hampton, but serves both city populations of consumers in need of services. Out-patient services are also available on the campus, as well as crisis intervention and day programs. Case management is provided to every consumer in transitional housing and is not a program a consumer may opt-out of. Vocational training is also available.

How is the effectiveness of their interventions measured?

A behavioral intervention plan is developed for each consumer. A baseline is established, for example if the target is to teach the consumer how to make a bed, the consumer is observed first on what he or she does when asked to make the bed. A consumer may in the beginning throw a blanket over the bed and consider the bed made. The behavior is then modeled to the consumer and over a period of weeks or months (depending on the consumer's ability to understand) observations are made as to the progress of the consumer in successfully completing the task.

The established baseline is used to determine successful or unsuccessful interventions. The same method is used if it is desirable to extinguish undesirable behaviors, such as masturbation in public. In order to extinguish an undesirable behavior there are mild consequences for lapsing into the undesired behavior. For example, ...

Solution Summary

The solution describes the diagnosis and abilities required of people living in a halfway house and moving toward independent living in the community.

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