Hospital renovates, expands senior care unit

Walker Baptist Medical Center

By JENNIFER COHRON, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 8/25/18

Walker Baptist Medical Center has expanded its geriatric psychiatry unit, which serves seniors age 60 and older who are experiencing mental or emotional issues requiring intensive treatment.

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Hospital renovates, expands senior care unit

Walker Baptist Medical Center

Posted

Walker Baptist Medical Center has expanded its geriatric psychiatry unit, which serves seniors age 60 and older who are experiencing mental or emotional issues requiring intensive treatment.

The unit, which expanded from 16 to 28 beds, also underwent a renovation earlier this year. Each private room was outfitted with new equipment, including beds specifically designed for the care of patients with certain needs.

“(Our new patient beds) have alarms that are able to weigh the patient when they’re in the bed, and we have the ability to lock out the alarm so the patient can’t turn the bed alarm off,” said Sheila Cole, director of behavioral health programs at WBMC.

The alarms notify medical staff when patients are out of their beds.

Alarms have also been installed over the doors to each room for additional patient safety measures.

Other safety measures include tamper-resistant electrical outlets and screws, shatter-resistant light fixtures and doorknobs and chairs designed with a detailed focus on patient safety.

The hospital’s senior care unit provides inpatient treatment for an average of 360 patients a year. The number of admissions is expected to increase to 500 patients in 2019 as a result of the expansion.

The average length of stay for a patient is seven to 10 days.

Patients admitted to the senior care unit may be experiencing a range of symptoms associated with dementia, depression and anxiety.

Some of these symptoms include insomnia or too much sleep, unusual behavior, poor appetite or overeating, disregard for personal appearance, impaired judgment, suicidal thoughts, forgetfulness, confusion or disorientation and trouble completing ordinary tasks.

Treatment options include medication management, daily therapeutic activities, physician management of chronic medical conditions and access to services such as dietary counseling and physical therapy.

Family members are encouraged to be involved in the treatment process.

The unit is staffed with a treatment team that includes geriatric psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and social workers. Dr. Terry Bentley, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Michael Brasfield, an internal medicine physician, provide primary coverage for the unit.

To refer an individual to the senior care unit, call 205-387-4874.