Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Belmont Behavioral Health Crisis Response Center

Name of Innovative Program: 
Sponsoring Organization
Belmont Behavioral Health Crisis Response Center
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Angela Cantwell RN-BC, Guillermo Otero, MD, Shamit Chaki, LSW
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
The Crisis Response Center(CRC) is a program that provides emergency behavioral health services to over 8,200 people per year.   One of the core values of our program is to create a Therapeutic Encounter where fear and shame are replaced by a sense that the encounter will be a partnership between the person and the therapeutic staff, with a key component of establishing agreement  that the CRC is a violence free environment. We recognize that violence most often stems from a sense of fear or loss of control. With that in mind, the Oasis Room Project was created. The goal is to provide an opportunity for people in need of crisis services to learn how to cope with stress with access to peer support in a sensory supportive environment, establish the non-violence agreement between the person and the program, and provide resources with a focus on resilience in an area in which the person can feel in control, not have the perception of being coerced or threatened.  In addition to establishing a Therapeutic Encounter, this has increased the positive perception of our program. 
Creativity and Innovation: 
The OASIS Room focuses resiliency when faced with feelings of despair.  It brings a person into a space to receive 1:1 intervention from a  Peer Specialist or staff member that focuses on recognizing these feelings, and how they are manifested in behavior, rather that "secluding" someone until they regain control.  We identify interventions that any person can employ on any day.  The use of non pharmacologic interventions such as aroma therapy, massage, guided meditation, breathing techniques, spiritual support and "smart' technology are utilized to help people learn to self soothe.  No other Crisis Center in this region takes this approach to care.  We also engage natural supports to teach them some of the methods that we employ with people in our care.
Since the implementaton of our OASIS Room, departments within our own network, as well as numerous other facilities have come to not only tour the space, but also to collaborate with us on how they can integrate this approach to care in their own places.  We openly and wilingly share this approach to Crisis care, as we have found it to be statistically significant to improving people's perception of the crisis service, as well as substantially decreased the amount of violence that occurs in our service.  Even people from "medical" floors and facilities are inquiring about our approach since there are People in Recovery throughout the healthcare spectrum.
This project has proven sustainable as it requires no additional staffing or facilities.  We were able to transform space already available on our unit into a safe, secure, peace filled environment.  The use of smart technology provides with an endless supply of online resources that we can customize to the person in need.  For example, some people respond well to classical music and quiet conversation, while others prefer to use the wireless headphones to particiapte in guided meditation.  Once the room was outfitted with furniture and technology, all that is required to sustain it is the willingness and committment of the staff and people in our care to using the room for its intended purpose.
The use of the OASIS Room is easily replicated.  In fact, 2 inpatient units in our own hospital have already made progress to opening "sensory support" rooms of their own.  It requires available space, training of staff, and a committment to advancing the mission of establishing a Therapeutic Encounter.
Two tools will be utilized to measure the success of the program.  The Recovery Based Personal Satisfaction Form measures the overall satisfaction with the service. Feedback forms  regarding the outcome of time in the OASIS are collected by the assigned staff member.  The comments are amalgamated by the Program and Medical Director of the CRC.  Staff surveys are conducted on line at 6months and 1 year after the program’s implementation.  Violent episodes resulting in injury or restraint are monitored.  Success/failure of the program will be measured by the goals of the program.