Ocean Way Mental Health Agency has added Case Management and Daily Living Support Services to better service men and women ages 18 to 70 with major mental health diagnoses.

Laurie Tardiff, Ocean Way president, has 25 years of experience in hospital and community services. Since 1995,Tardiff has also operated Ocean Way Manor, a residential facility servicing individuals with developmental disabilities.

"Our vision is to keep our services personalized and our delivery above standards in what we have to offer," said Tardiff.

Case Management Services links the client to the services they need in the community. CMS is the hub to determine what the individual's goal is and what needs to be attained.

CMS assists the individual with getting a doctor, arranging housing, and seeking benefits such as medical and legal, financial education, and vocational stability.

"The CM seem to know all the nooks and crannies where services can be had," said Alan Letourneau, Ocean Way clinical director.

Daily Living Support Services assists individuals who may need more concentrated help to attain the agreed upon goal.

Clients are obtained through local therapists, psychiatric hospitals, in-patient services, or by self-referrals. Some are referred by state agencies.

Some clients are discharged from hospitals, state prisons, incarceration, or may have a legal order involving the Department of Health and Human Services. Ocean Way's mission is to help the individuals maintain their mental health stability to promote ongoing independent living.

Being a community-based program, Ocean Way also links them with community service providers.

"We take great pride in maintaining an open communication with community providers," said Tardiff.

Each case is different. Goals are set based on the individual's diagnosis, skill level, and what they have been through.

"Some clients need six to 10 hours of support per week. Others may need six to 10 hours per day of support," said Letourneau.

Once Ocean Way receives a referral, a CM is assigned. The CM verifies the individual meets necessary qualifications for financial services (MaineCare) and they have a qualifying diagnosis.

The case manager then meets with the client to see if Ocean Way services will benefit the individual. Once this is determined, an Individual Support Plan is formulated based on the client's input. The ISP identifies goals the client needs to meet in order to attain independent living status.

In addition, the case manager conducts a comprehensive assessment to determine how to measure the steps to reach the goal and how they will know when they have reached their set goal.

"Our goal is to get everyone to the independent living status," said Tardiff. "Some are able to and some are not."

"Key in all of this is the continuity of care," she added.

Ocean Way has had a rolling clientele of approximately 40 individuals during the last three years. It has four case managers and eight Daily Living Support Services employees.

Necessary licensing includes mental health agency licensing, Daily Living Services, and Skills Program. In addition, each case manager is licensed as a Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician/Community and each DLSS must certify as a Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician 1. Letourneau has a master's degree in Social Work.

Ocean Way's guiding principal is that all individuals are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.

More information on OWMHA can be had at oceanwaycommunity.com or by calling 354-8184.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.