Connecting the D.O.T.S
Parkview Health System’s Community Risk Reduction Program teams a Parkview employee with the Pueblo Fire Department's D.O.T.S (Directing Others to Services) team. The goal of the program is to provide bridge-counseling for people in an actively supportive manner that allows each client to become more independent in their own care, connect to community resources and get their wellness needs met.
Jessica Blue Sky Vigil is Parkview’s Community Risk Reduction Behavioral Health Specialist and can often be found riding with the DOTS team as a co-responder, contacting people in the community that need support.
Jessica joined Parkview as a psychiatric liaison in the Emergency Room and worked in the hospital’s Behavioral Health Unit. More recently she had a private practice. She is a licensed professional counselor.
As a Behavioral Health Specialist, Jessica provides a psychosocial assessment not only to identify how best to help the clients get the behavioral health support they may need in the community but also to help them in the ‘here and now’.
“I help clients get connected with needed resources and also provide counseling immediately to provide individualized support, addressing a wide variety of challenges including anxiety, depression, grief, substance dependence and a plethora of behavioral health issues,” said Jessica. “Many people do not realize how difficult it can be to navigate the healthcare system or how long it takes to actually get connected with services one needs.”
For the DOTS program, success stories happen almost every day and range from getting someone a food delivery by connecting them with the Cooperative Care Center or Meals on Wheels to identifying someone who needs home healthcare and contacting their primary care physician to request a referral.
“DOTS will help people get connected to program that install a grab bar in the shower for an elderly person so they don't keep falling, and I will sit with someone who has traversed through grief of losing independence and being admitted to a nursing home - so they don’t have to cry alone at the news of their admission.”
Many of the tasks DOTS undertake are case management and social worker by type but handled by DOTS because otherwise these clients might have no one else helping them.
“We have people in our program who were once homeless with no connection to behavioral health or medical health in the community and utilized the Emergency Room for their healthcare needs,” added Jessica. “We were able to successfully connect them with community resources and now they have an established PCP, counselor, dentist and are working toward stable housing.”
Jessica states that she couldn't do it without DOTS and the program wouldn't be successful if the team only handed out flyers or brochures.
“We work with a population of people who need involved, caring and compassionate supporters to physically assist them in connecting to resources to get their wellness needs met. All of these successes could not happen if we weren't a team, and they couldn't happen if the clients weren't willing to work and put effort into their wellness.”
According to the Pueblo Fire Department, DOTS program responded to 824 calls and enrolled 253 local citizens for additional services in fiscal year 2021.
For more information on the DOTS program, or to fill out a referral form, go to www.pueblo.us/2159/DOTS