Because the primary focus of Bridge House is to help residents and family members better understand the underlying reasons for issues leading to impairment in day-to-day adaptation and functioning, we seek to understand these issues through the application of scientific, social, medical, and observational strategies. Bridge House is committed to leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the assessment of our residents’ mental health, and we understand that physical wellbeing is a significant component of mental health.
In addition to all of the psychological and observational evaluation that occurs throughout the Bridge House process, our holistic approach to assessment includes a series of medical tests, which we believe are a key part of the puzzle when helping residents who come to us seeking help. To inform their treatment and assessment, when each resident arrives we administer genetic testing (if not previously completed), blood work, and toxicology screenings.
Bridge House offers genetic testing to personalize medicine for each client. Our clinical team uses the specific information gathered from genetic testing to create a more personalized approach to treatment, as genetic testing allows clinicians to understand if a drug may work for someone before they even try it.
Genomind Professional PGx ExpressTM looks at 24 key genes that are associated with mental health. With this information, along with a resident’s medical history, our clinicians can make a more informed treatment decision. Genomind Professional PGx Express supports the genetic profile implications for the treatment of:
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- bipolar disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- chronic pain
Bridge House provides in-house blood work which reveals information about a resident’s physical health and gives insight into any physical concerns a resident might be experiencing The blood work completed will often reveal physical concerns related to many of the following:
- thyroid issues/hormone imbalances
- calcium and vitamin D
- B12 and folate
- hemoglobin A1C
- cholesterol levels
- electrolyte imbalances
- liver function
- kidney function
An initial toxicology screening (drug urinalysis) occurs upon admission and then each week throughout a resident’s stay. This screening process is particularly important for the assessment of a resident who has previously been using drugs, as it allows the treatment team to determine when a resident’s body is clear of substances and is closer to a baseline for more accurate assessment.
Additional Testing: As Indicated
If our treatment team determines that more information is needed, they will consider additional testing. Because this testing is administered “as indicated,” there is no definitive list of tests that our clinicians will consider. The following tests are additional tests we’ve used to better understand specific medical concerns presenting in a resident, but it is in no way a complete list of what can be explored as we engage in an individualized assessment for each person we work with.
- Hormone testing: If our initial in-house blood work reveals hormone imbalances or other related concerns, our treatment team may determine that further testing is needed. In this case, we will complete a comprehensive baseline test of hormone production which will help us pinpoint any imbalances and further inform treatment.
- Micronutrient lab test: The Bridge House treatment team will consider a micronutrient lab test for residents to gain a better understanding of nutritional deficiencies in order to address any nutritional deficiencies or complications that may be the source of or contributing to any physical or psychological complaints/concerns. This test measures functional deficiencies at the cellular level and is “an assessment of how well the body utilizes 31 vitamins, minerals, amino/fatty acids, antioxidants, and metabolites, while conveying the body’s need for these micronutrients that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances essential for proper growth, development, and good health.” [Spectracell]
- Food allergy/sensitivity testing: If there are concerns that food sensitivities or allergies may be playing a role in a resident’s health, an IgG (immunoglobulin G) test can aid in the structuring of elimination diets that may relieve symptoms of many chronic neurological, gastrointestinal, and movement disorders.
- CT or MRI: If the treatment team has concerns about a resident’s neurocognitive function, a CT or MRI of the brain may be indicated to rule out serious illnesses such as brain tumor or possible traumatic brain injury.
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) or Functional Neurocognitive Imaging (fNCI): If a resident arrives with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that has not been properly assessed, or if the resident is experiencing continuing issues despite previous TBI treatment, the Bridge House treatment team may determine that further assessment is needed.
- Lyme Disease: An IGX immunoblot test will be administered if a resident’s history indicates that Lyme Disease may be a concern.
- Sleep study: Throughout the assessment process it may be determined that a resident should participate in a sleep study in order to diagnose a potential sleep disorder. By recording brain waves, blood oxygen levels, and other vitals, a sleep study may help pinpoint potential concerns such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, unexplained chronic insomnia, or other sleep-related disorders.
Integrating Medical Testing into Assessment and Treatment
The results of all of these tests are reviewed and integrated into a resident’s Bridge to Health Report and recommendations are formulated and discussed with the resident by their treatment team. Our Medical Director, Psychiatrist, Clinical Dietician, and team of nurses help integrate this information into a care plan that facilitates raising the baseline of physical health for each person receiving support at Bridge House.