Ted*, a long-term resident at a state institution, was a diagnosed schizophrenic, was intensely fearful and had extreme difficulty communicating with others. He suffered from additional mental health and mental retardation issues that affected his quality of life and his ability to care for himself and make appropriate decisions. Because of his intense fears and mental issues, Ted would often make poor decisions and would avoid emergency care and treatments when he needed medical intervention and was unable to provide for himself and ensure his own safety and wellbeing.
Ted was appointed a guardian through JFCS Guardianship Services while he was institutionalized to make placement decisions and ensure that appropriate services were in place for his success. JFCS’s duties as guardian of person include developing, coordinating and monitoring professional services needed by the individual ward, such as determining and monitoring residential care, consenting to and monitoring medical care and non-medical services such as education, training, social/wellness opportunities and counseling, and making end-of-life decisions when needed.
When the institution closed, it was suggested that Ted be moved to a group home. It was a significant challenge for Ted to acclimate and adjust to his new group home. He would not communicate with others or participate in activities, and would simply sit silently in a chair throughout the day. His difficulties adjusting proved to be a significant challenge for his caseworker.
Ted’s guardian identified his specific challenges and felt that with extra support, he could succeed in his new setting. His guardian worked with the residential program staff, his caseworker and the entire support system at the group home to help him overcome his debilitating fears, communicate and interact more with others.
His guardian’s intervention worked, and Ted is now successfully living in his group home and attending a day program, where he communicates and participates with others, and regularly goes to doctor’s appointments without a problem. He is even planning a vacation to a busy metropolitan location a few hours away in the near future, which would not have been possible before!
*Name has been changed