New Beds Added to Behavioral Health

Mental healthThe demand for mental health in-patient and outpatient services is increasing in the local area. To respond to the need, Spotsylvania Regional has added 10 new beds to the Behavioral Health unit. Please read the details below in an article that appeared in the Free LanceStar on Nov 30, 2014:


Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center is expanding its mental health unit, reversing a statewide trend of shrinking availability of psychiatric beds. The hospital opened in 2008 with 10 beds and quickly discovered a need for more, said Assistant Administrator Sebastian Haines.
“It was a service that was neglected for a long time in this state,” he said. In fact, Virginia saw a decline of 252 psychiatric beds from 2005 to 2010, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. That decline reflected a national trend toward fewer mental health resources, a movement that came to light in 2013 when state Sen. Creigh Deeds’ son attacked him and then took his own life. Gus Deeds’ suicide happened the day after an emergency detention order expired because officials couldn’t find an open psychiatric bed. Mary Washington Healthcare operates Snowden, a 40-bed behavioral health facility in Fredericksburg.
This spring, Spotsylvania Regional doubled its beds to 20, and soon found that the behavioral health unit was often at capacity, said Kylie Wright, director of behavioral health. In October, SMRC opened eight more psychiatric beds. Those are often filled, Wright said.The new beds also enable the hospital to treat patients who have mental illness and other serious ailments that require oxygen therapy or IV fluids.The behavioral health unit is on the hospital’s fifth floor, and includes numerous safety features: shatter-proof mirrors, motion detectors in the ceiling tiles, alarms on the tops of doors, break-away shower curtain rods that won’t hold much weight, platform beds bolted to the floor and an enclosed nurses’ station.But hospital officials wanted to avoid an institutional feel, Haines said.
So the unit also includes speakers, so calming music can be piped into rooms, a comfort room with yoga mats and gaming systems and a meeting place with picture windows to let in natural light.“It’s supposed to be a comfortable environment so patients feel safe,” Haines said. SMRC also launched a partial hospitalization program that offers patients a chance to transition from their time in the hospital by spending their days receiving treatment there but their nights at home.“It provides a full continuum of care,” Haines said. “It’s a natural step-down process that meets the needs of patients.”
Amy Umble: 540/735-1973aumble@freelancestar.com

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