Team Spotlight: KYC’s Community Living Team
KYC’s Community Living Team provides intensive support to adults living with chronic mental health challenges as they live independently in the community – sometimes for the first time in decades.
Terrance Irving, Community Support Team Supervisor, has been working at KYC for four years, supporting clients with a wide range of wraparound services as they live in recovery. “At one time or another if you work in Community Living, you carry out a variety of roles” shared Terrance. “Therapist, life coach, mentor, medical consultant, case manager, vocational specialist, behavior specialist, crisis worker, grief counselor, accountant, nutritionist, meal planner, advocate, etc.” At the same time, these Community Living Team Members work collaboratively with nurses, occupational therapists, KYC’s Psychiatrist serving Adults Dr. Jerry Gibbons, and individual therapists who also work with these clients. The holistic and multidisciplinary approach ensures each person can work their recovery and maximize their independence.
Terrance and his team work with clients in KYC’s permanent supportive housing apartment buildings in Mount Prospect, Wheeling, and Arlington Heights, as well as in apartments scattered in the broader suburban area. Clients in this program have typically spent long periods of time living in nursing homes or psychiatric facilities, but can live successfully in the community with highly structured wrap around support services. For many, the idea of living outside their nursing home room was a foregone conclusion. But the Community Living Team creates hope and opportunity to determine what best meets each client’s needs, then creating a roadmap for how to get there.
As the pandemic shuttered most of the country in March, these team members didn’t miss a beat. If anything, their work became all the more critical. As concerns grew around how to keep people safe, Community Living staff put on face masks and gloves, and dug in. They answered crisis calls from clients at all hours of the night, building coping mechanisms for each person to deal with the radical change facing everyone. Clients struggled with the break in routine, the desolation of “normal”, and the balance of sharing the anxiety and mental health challenges they face with a fear of returning to institutionalized living.
Every day, team members work with doctors’ offices and grocery stores and pharmacies to make sure clients’ needs are met. Did you struggle to find toilet paper in April? Imagine being responsive for 8 – 10 apartments’ worth!
But beyond the care coordination and crisis support, there’s a deep interpersonal connection with each client that makes the program work. Depending on their individual needs and circumstances, clients in this program may connect with a KYC staff person multiple times a day in both planned appointments and informal check-ins. Every interaction has the same goal: to empower independence and engage in recovery.
With so much uncertainty and unrest over the last months, we asked Terrance how his team managed both the heightened needs of clients and the personal toll of dealing with health and safety concerns, social unrest, schools transitioning to e‑learning while parents continue to work, and so much more. “Seeing their progress inspires me” said Terrance. “Every day is different.”
KYC is deeply proud to recognize Terrance and the entire Community Living Division for their tireless work to support clients. Their creative problem solving, unwavering dedication, professionalism, and care have been a lifeline to clients during this incredible time in our world. The need for these supports continues to grow, especially during the pandemic, with the team continually hiring more staff with diverse skillsets to support the recovery of adults in our community in increasingly complex ways.
This team epitomizes KYC’s vision: Together We Thrive.
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