The patients of Woods Services now have their own club-house to take care of, but it's geared more toward therapy than fun.
At a ceremony Thursday, staff, clubhouse members and community members dedicated the new Stabler NeuroRehab Center in Langhorne, part of the nonprofit's efforts to treat people with brain injuries.
Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who advocated for better mental health treatment while in Congress and since retired in 2011, said the community-based program can help address patients' individual needs - something he said is sorely needed in mental health medicine.
"The best models are not one-size-fits-all; each individual's needs are unique," he said.
That's the goal of the center, according to its executive director, Dr. Drew Nagele. He said they tailor the clubhouse's programs to each member's needs and help the members develop life skills while they take care of the building and help keep it running.
"We are here to tackle the everyday challenges of a person's life," he said. "We are training people in the specific skills that they need where they need them and it is more effective that ways."
The newly expanded building houses all of Woods Services' brain injury programs, including its new clubhouse program. That day program, which can serve up to 40 people, offers activities in office units to help clients deal with life skills and occupational skills.
The Stabler NeuroRehab Center has housed the brain injury program since 1979 as part of Woods Services, which is mostly housed in adjacent Middletown. The center was named after center's first patient, Beverly Stabler, according to Diana Ramsay, the CEO of Woods.
The $2.1 million center renovation began last year, with a $1 million donation from the Donald B. and Dorothy J. Stabler Foundation.
Nagele said the program helps bridge an important area in healing that generally occurs six months after a brain injury when the person no longer requires acute medical care. He said the clubhouse members come from a variety of backgrounds and are at different places in their recovery; some are still in residential programs, while others live on their own.
The clubhouse's programs vary from a group that researches activities for club members to another that does light facility maintenance work and gardening. Nagele said the center houses services for a variety of therapies, including speech, cognitive, Neuro-psychological, physical and occupational programs.
He said the center also works with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation on its employment programs. He said Woods offers the full spectrum of job services, from sheltered employment within Woods to full employment with job coaches helping club members acclimate to the outside environment.
The clubhouse model, the 17th such center in the nation, is meant to be flexible, Nagele said, depending on the client's needs.
Kennedy, who worked to pass legislation mandating that mental health issues be treated the same as other medical problems, founded the Kennedy Forum nonprofit after he left Congress. The forum's goal; is remove the stigma of mental illness.
The country has experienced a growing number of people with brain injuries, mental disabilities and cognitive disorders, he said, referring to returning veterans with traumatic brain injuries, people with Alzheimer's disease, and the growing number of youngsters diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
"What you have here is a perfect storm and we have to get building out the community based model of care," Kennedy said.
Source: Macagnone, Michael. "Clubhouse dedication." Bucks County Courier Times [Langhorne] Saturday Nov. 2014, A3 section 23 Feb. 2017.