Thursday, November 17, 2011

How-To Handbook for Handling Hoarders

By Amy Sutherland

When a cable TV technician arrived at an elderly woman’s home, he found it so crammed with piles of paper that he could barely make his way through. At home that night, he scanned the web for information on hoarding and found Christiana Bratiotis’ name and phone number. He called the postdoctoral researcher the next day at Boston University’s School of Social Work to ask what he should do. After considering his description of the house, Bratiotis suggested that he file a report with a local social service agency.
Over the past few years, postdoctoral researcher Bratiotis (SSW’09), director of theSSW Hoarding Research Project, has become a de facto hotline for anyone, from firemen to exterminators, who comes across a hoarder. Along with two graduate students, she fields calls and emails from hoarders around the country and from people who are concerned about them. She typically gets a dozen calls a week. One recent inquiry came from a nurse at an assisted living facility in the Boston area who found that a new resident was stashing tissue and toilet paper under her bed. Another came from a housing inspector in western Massachusetts who needed to immediately find temporary housing for a hoarder. Bratiotis says most of the calls come from around New England, with California a close second..."  More
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