Crises are handled case-by-case

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Julie Ellingson, Jennifer Vordermann’s aunt, told The Janesville Gazette that Rock County Crisis Intervention evaluated Shaun Vordermann for 35 minutes before sending him home.

Crisis intervention Supervisor Denny Luster said he could not confirm or deny crisis workers had evaluated Shaun.

Workers typically evaluate people who are having a mental heath crisis to determine if there are imminent safety issues or a need for medical stabilization, Luster said.

If safety issues are imminent, police will take the person in crisis to the hospital for a medical clearance before the person can go to inpatient psychiatric treatment, Luster said.

If the person is not in immediate danger, a crisis worker talks to the person by telephone or face-to-face and refers the client to outpatient treatment. The client signs a safety plan agreement that’s drawn out between the client, the crisis worker and—whenever possible—the spouse, Luster said.

Then the person is free to go.

Typically, when they sign the paperwork, clients agree to go to counseling, family members agree to remove firearms from the house, family members agree to supervise clients and families know crisis workers will check on them in the time between the crisis intervention and the outpatient treatment.

“It’s case-by-case specific. Each situation poses different nuances, but we do have a general protocol and procedure staff has to follow to determine whatever risk factors have to be covered in that assessment,” Luster said.

In the case of a completed suicide, Luster said he and crisis intervention’s medical director, a psychiatrist, always review crisis intervention charts.

Staff will talk about the situation in a team format, Luster said.

“It’s hard to see anybody take their own life, regardless of whether we had any contact with them—and I’m not implying that we did,” Luster said. “We are here to save lives.”

Last updated: 9:58 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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