Essential nursing

Ninety-five percent of the children in our Residential Treatment Services are admitted with some sort of psychotropic medication. A number of effective medications help children and adolescents address some of the behavioral challenges they confront. In spite of the effectiveness of these medications, our overall approach is to help our residents become less dependent on medication. Through the use of some cognitive therapies and a supportive environment, we are able to help our residents to rely less on medication.

That being said, medication is an essential part of the treatment we offer. Each resident is treated by a psychiatrist, and medications are dispensed by the nursing staff. All staff are educated on the effects of these medications and taught to recognize symptoms that might be associated with particular regiments of treatment. Our Residential Treatment Services is an ideal setting to determine the effectiveness of certain medications in combination with an array of interactive therapies.
In this kind of an environment nursing staff are indispensable. We are very fortunate to have a cadre of nurses that are essential members of our treatment teams. Not only do they oversee the use of medications, but they provide a great deal of education and support to our residents, from addressing childhood maladies to sensitive issues concerning pregnancy prevention. This integrated and comprehensive approach to care is absolutely essential to assure the overall well-being of those we serve.
Given that this kind of nursing care is a fundamental part of the treatment we offer children in the foster care system, it was somewhat surprising to see cited in a recent Los Angeles Times article on foster care that teenage girls living in foster care were two and a half times more likely to become pregnant by the age of 19. Avoiding teenage pregnancies is a complex and challenging issue, in a particular way for youngsters in the foster care system. It requires more than just education, but an orchestrated approach to address the emotional and behavioral issues that places adolescents, who have been traumatized, at risk of pregnancies.
No system of care can effectively address this issue without the support of many caregivers who collectively lift up a vulnerable adolescent and provide the resources to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. One of those indispensable caregivers for us at Hillsides is each member of our nursing staff. So in a particular way on this National Nurses week, we acknowledge the tremendous contribution they make to assure that those we care for are empowered and prepared to make better, healthier choices after experiencing trauma.

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