Written By: Nanette Mitchell, Guardianship Case Manager
Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia provides both public & private Guardianship services for individuals deemed unable to care for themselves by the courts and who have no family available to provide their care. CCEVA’s Guardianship Case Managers attend to all of the social, emotional, housing, medical and financial needs of their clients. Our Guardianship clients become like family and case managers visit them at least monthly, most of the time much more often. They shop for, transport and help their clients live their lives to the fullest extent possible. CCEVA serves more than 130 clients each year in our Guardianship program.
Often, the work of a Guardian includes ensuring that clients are not taken advantage of in any way, and are in the least restrictive environments, while remaining safe. Unfortunately, often those confined to nursing homes are targeted for services which may be unnecessary. CCEVA is proud of the way our Case Managers protect their clients!
What we do as Guardians…
July 8, 2021, I received a call from a mental health provider, stating that he had received a referral from my client’s nursing home referring him to their company for services. I was confused, given that this particular client has no mental health issues. The client does have a diagnosis of dementia, but there are no mental health issues: a calmer, more jovial and good-natured client could not be wished for.
I called the social worker at the facility that made the referral. While waiting for a call back, I called the mental health provider and asked why my client had been referred to them. He read that the client had been isolating, and had short and long-term memory issues. Right! I stated that the client has dementia, not mental health issues; that he was isolating because of the facility’s Covid policy, not depression. Prior to Covid this individual was always engaged in social activities. I then asked what he thought they could do for my client. He said he didn’t know as he was third party but that the company would send a consultant to evaluate the individual. I told him that unless they also offered a program of support for people with dementia, I could not see how they could be of service. I stated that as part of the training requirements for my job, I’ve been keeping up on issues regarding dementia and according to the doctors, even the currently prescribed medications give little help with memory loss and I had no intention of letting the mental health group prescribe unneeded psychotropic medications for my client. I told him that I was declining the referral for their services. He said that he would remove my client from the referral list.
The social worker returned my call and she was also surprised that my client was “referred” and said she would look into the matter.
Providing a voice for the voiceless is what Nanette Mitchell has been doing as a Guardianship Case Manager for CCEVA for more than 15 years, providing unparalleled service and advocacy on behalf of her clients who become like family.