CONFERENCE SEEKS MOTIVATION AND TREATMENT FOR HOARDERS OF ANIMALS AND OBJECTS
By Kathleen Piché, L.C.S.W., Public Affairs Director
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Older Adult System of Care presented People Hoarding Animals and Things: Is It Capacity, Mental Illness or Lifestyle? at the California Endowment on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The conference was packed to capacity with over 300 participants and provided information on the hoarding of objects and animals.
The morning began with a welcome from Theion Perkins, R.N., M.H.C., Program Head, GENESIS/FACTS Older Adult FCCS Program.
Additional morning speakers included: Carlotta Childs Seagle, L.C.S.W., Deputy Director, Older Adult System of Care; Sarah Gelberd, M.D., Medical Director, Older Adult System of Care; David Kochen, Human Services Administrator, LA County Community and Senior Services, Adult Protective Services Division and Chirstina Narim, L.C.S.W., GENESIS/FACTS Older Adult FCCS Program.
Jyothi Robertson, D.V.M., made a fascinating presentation on a Veterinarian’s first look at animal hoarding entitled The Tipping Point, Understanding and responding to Animal Hoarding. Dr. Robertson estimated that at least 2000 new animal hoarding cases occur annually. Dr. Robertson reviewed the psychology of animal hoarding, what to look for in animals that are neglected and/or abused and the handling of animal hoarding cases which included an interactive case presentation.
Ms. Perkins commented, “This year’s Hoarding Forum was exceptional as it brought multiple agencies together, providing an opportunity for networking and collaboration. I believe this conference linked individuals together who will take the challenge of improving the care and treatment of hoarders. Dr. Jyothi Robertson spoke to animal control and code enforcement agencies, showing them that Mental Health understands their challenges and welcomes collaboration. The resounding point is that by working together can we can help to improve the lives of individuals suffering from this disorder.”
After lunch, Steven Read, M.D., U.C.L.A. Clinical Professor, made a presentation entitled Hoarding Behavior and Decision Making Capacity: Issues and Practice. Dr. Read defined the terms hoarding, competence and capacity and discussed their principles. He presented some case examples and reviewed management of the problem with medications, behavioral and community interventions.