The Rosecrance Florian Program was featured October 14, 2014 on WREX in Rockford.
A new health program, reportedly the only of its kind in the nation, comes to Rockford. It treats first responders who constantly face high-stress situations.
The Florian program is named after the patron saint of firefighters. It’s now offered at Rosecrance, right in the Forest City.
“We came on the job to help other people, but what we fail to do is help ourselves sometimes,” says Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief Daniel DeGryse.
When your career centers around emergencies, you tend to see a lot of the negative. Sometimes those images stay with you. Experts say 20% of all firefighters and paramedics deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
“A child burned up, somebody who’s in a car trying to get out, we see this this each and everyday and what are we supposed to do with that?” says DeGryse.
DeGryse has been a first responder for 25 years. In his time serving, he says he’s seen a lot of situations where firefighters could use professional mental health services, but not as many options for actual treatment. There are choices out there, through what’s called employee assistance programs. Chicago has them, so does Rockford, but DeGryse says the issue lies in specialization.
“Some of the organizations out there, when I ask them about trauma, I don’t think they understand what kind of trauma we go through.”
So, DeGryse reached out to the health organization Rosecrance in Rockford. He and administrators created the Florian Program, what they call a specialized initiative.
“This program is going to be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week just for fire personnel.”
Florian has been up and running since this summer at Rosecrance’s facility at 3815 Harrison Avenue. Doctors there, like medical director Dr. Raymond Garcia, have worked with first responders in the past. They say treatment varies with each situation, but all cases will be monitored at Floria, to see iFlorianents are making progress.
“If they have anxiety disorders, PTSD, certainly we can track that to see how well they’re doing symptomatically as they’re leaving the program compared to when they first come in,” Dr. Garcia explains.
Florian’s already treated five firefighters from various departments around northern Illinois. Rockford fire is still looking at payment options, figuring out if its health benefits cover the Florian program, or if personnel would have to pay out of pocket.
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