Never Too Late for Integrated Care: SPOP’s First PROS Graduate

A recent story from Foothold client SPOP (Service Program for Older People) struck me about a gentleman named Jose who successfully worked his way through the array of inpatient and community-based services in New York. He was a participant in SPOP’s PROS program (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services), a comprehensive rehabilitation program that I had the extraordinary opportunity to develop during my time at the New York State Office of Mental Health. The story highlighted how, through his hard work and the help of the dedicated staff, Jose graduated from the program and is ready to move on to his next adventure in life.

PROS is a rigorous program of integrated care designed to address the needs of the whole individual, encompassing rehabilitation, support and clinical services. The graduation of this individual from a PROS program is in itself a wonderful accomplishment and a proud moment, but that’s not the whole story. You see, Jose is not a young adult or even a middle-aged man–he is 81 years old. Despite being of an age where many people would resign themselves to their current circumstances, he did not sit back and accept a life sentence of loneliness and sadness. Instead, he worked hard and fought through the difficult, troubled times to achieve a goal he set a long time ago: to revitalize his relationship with his two sons, whom he had not seen for many years.

We at Foothold commend this extraordinary gentleman, and the dedication of the staff at SPOP for this success. I am particularly proud to see how they took the concept of integrated care and made it work. It is heartwarming for me to see how, when treated with dignity and respect and presented with an environment of hope and support, an individual can overcome all the obstacles in his life and “graduate” to a happier and fulfilled life. I hope as we move into a world of Managed Care and cost-containment, we recognize the lessons we can learn from this gentleman’s experience within SPOP’s PROS program, that a behavioral health illness does not have to be a sentence for loneliness. It is never too late to achieve your dreams, hopes, and aspirations.