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Local Home Health Care Provider Says Psychiatric Labels Are Misleading

A Deerfield-based business developer for home health care services said Friday that psychiatric labels

are misleading and don't give the full picture behind a person's real personality and problems.

In a revealing indictment of the real life impact of the use of the term "mental illness," Lydia Morris, the

director of GentleHomeServices in north suburban Deerfield, said that the use of the term to describe

anyone is derogatory and too simplistic.

"I don't think you can boil down a person's life to one label like that", she said, after a joint presentation on promoting good communication between families and health care professionals in Highland Park, Illinois. "People are more complicated than that. Their lives are not that simple. The problems they face cannot be assessed with one term like that."

Morris was at the Highland Park library to encourage questions about the growing home health care trend, at one of a series of presentations sponsored jointly by the CJE SeniorLife Weinberg Community, Elderworks, and Gentle Home Health Services.

Morris said that it is true that the home health care trend is growing. She said that her service has more than 200 clients in their roster. She said that her company works carefully to avoid getting involved in the decisions that belong in the hands of the clients and their families, and at times, that end up in the legal system.

She said "getting involved in decisions like when a family member or if a person should be having a home health care assistant come into the home is not our place. That is their right to decide. We have, however, seen cases where a person would have been better off in the first place if they had the support of someone coming in to care for them, like in cases involving the elderly, who might be too alone and could possibly fall and break a hip or a leg or something.

I work with the families and their doctors if the doctors are involved in private duty, and I also have worked with the Cook County Public Guardian's office."

Morris has said that she has seen first-hand that what the public believes about psychiatric treatment is not at all the real-life scenario of what happens inside the treatment system. She said that even one of her colleagues, a "narrative therapist", said that from inside experience, he has come to believe that psychiatric treatment has no merit. She cited the more visible example of Elizabeth Langdon, the subject of a non-fiction account of the journey to the non-drug approach to resolving her personal problems. Langdon instead used a psychological self-monitoring, self-evaluation, holistic-based approach.

She also said that in the growing trend toward home health care, the most intelligent approach is one that "takes into consideration a number of minds, opinions, perspectives, a melange approach. You get a broader perspective that way," Morris said.

Morris laughingly said while that she is interested in the growing debate over the repeal of Obamacare, she does not "spend enough time" keeping track of the Congressional progress on that.

The Weinber Community for Senior Living will be sponsoring another presentation on fostering good communication in health care between families and professionals. It will be held on March 19, 2014, and feature Dr. Thomas Triantfillou, a Geriatric Internist from the NorthShore University Health System. The program starts with an 8:30 a.m. Breakfast and Registration, followed by a presentation at 9:00 a.m. For more information and to pre-register, call 847-236-7852.

Meantime, the Moraine County Township is available at the Highland Park Public Library this afternoon to answer any questions about the Obamacare legislation and its implementation.