Thorpe looking to work with CAF

By Geoff Lee

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

AIMING AT RECOVERY Teressa Krueckl, executive director of the Thorpe recovery Centre, stands in one of the empty rooms offered by the rehab facility in this 2016 photo. The two provincial governments only fund a few of the 72 beds, but a new focused program aimed at providing treatment for Canada's military member suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder could fill up many rooms. The centre is waiting for the military to approve the new program. FILE LLS PHOTO

The Thorpe Recovery Centre is anxious to learn if a new program specific to treat Canadian military members for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will be approved.
“We put the program together and it has to go to a military committee that looks at where their approved treatment centres are,” said Teressa Krueckl, executive director of the Thorpe Centre located in Blackfoot, Alta.
“Basically, right now they have our proposal and to the last of my knowledge, it’s under review.”
The program would help to fill up the addiction treatment facility and assist Canadian Armed Forces personnel from nearby bases in Cold Lake and Wainwright, to recover from PTSD.
“We’re a 72-bed facility, and we’re probably at any given time, (filling) about 20 beds, so we have a lot of available capacity here,” said Krueckl.
“It makes sense to us and we have had many of the military folks in here.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job at treatment with them, so it’s not entirely new for us.”
PTSD is a psychological injury caused by the reaction of the brain to a very severe psychological stress, such as feeling one’s life is threatened during a military conflict.
Treatment of PTSD for Canadian Armed Forces members is provided primarily by clinicians within the CAF clinics, in particular, at the seven regional Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres.
The possibility of the Thorpe Centre treating regional military personnel cropped up in a recent presentation to the Rotary Club of Lloydminster, by speakers from the 3rd Canadian Division Training Centre at CFB Wainwright.
“We’ve been working with the military for quite some time, and part of the question for us is, what more can we do,” said Krueckl.
She said Thorpe’s clinical director, Suzie Le Brocq made some contacts out east with the military folks, and they came forward and said “we really need some specific focus in this area.”
“So what we’ve done is we’ve designed a piece of the program to specifically identify some PTSD that the military was looking for,” she said.
She noted they have “turned that program back to them for approval, and some kind of decision on where we’ll lie on that, and what else we have to do.”
“But definitely we have that in the works,” said Krueckl.
The military program is the brainchild of Le Brocq, who is currently on vacation and is the person privy to whether or not the program has been officially approved by the military this week.
“We haven’t as far as I know heard back from the military whether or not we’re going to be approved —at this point, it’s in their hands,” said Krueckl.
“That being said, whether or not anything’s come through this week while Suzie (Le Brocq) is away I am unsure.”
PTSD is characterized by a variety of symptoms that can generally be grouped into four categories.
These include “re-experiencing,” having nightmares, or flashbacks; “avoidance,” avoiding crowds, or situations which may remind the person of the traumatic experience; “negative cognition and moods,” feeling a sense of guilt, distancing yourself from others; and “hyper-arousal,” self-destructive behaviour, irritability, angry outbursts and trouble sleeping.
Krueckl said the possibility of providing a focused PTSD program at the Thorpe Centre is definitely something they’re excited for.
“I believe in the end, whether we have to do a little bit more work on it or not, that it will all come together,” she said.
“Once again, it’s just a matter of time and having us being put on their list.”

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