Oak Ridge center certified for geriatric patients

Facility adds senior care to adolescent services

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

Oak Ridge Behavioral Health Center opened its doors in West Memphis in April. They went right to work serving the community by offering acute psychiatric and residential services for adolescents. The new campus encircles the historic Lawrie house, a 1939 colonial revival landmark on 7th Street in West Memphis. Staff announced it had cleared licensing hurdles and opened a second unit for acute psychiatric geriatric care in September for the special needs of patients over 55 years old. “We have a wonderful service that we want the community at large to know about,” said Executive Director David Johnson. “It enhances quality of life for seniors.” Senior staff at Oak Ridge said it is the right time and the right location to meet community needs for residential psychiatric care. With people living longer issues with dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, struggles with independent living and medical problems rising so is the need for top notch care. Sudden life changes may trigger anxiety or depression in senior adults. The staff was hand picked to meet these needs of patients according to Director of Nursing Pat McCormick. “Their background, their training, their desire to be here for the type of patients we have is very important,” said McCormick. “All the nurses have mentoring backgrounds, psychiatric and geriatric backgrounds. We have all CNA’s verses pysch-techs. They have nursing home experience and know the issues elderly patients have like oxygen and breathing treatment and not being able to emulate that you have with geriatric patients.” The West Memphis location prevents long and infrequent travel to other far flung acute psychiatric residential treatment facilities and this helps area families stay involved of the patient’s treatment and follow through. Family ties make for stays shorter than might be expected. According McCormick, family involvement results in Oak Ridge’s average 10-14 day average stay. “Our immediate goal is to bring a patient in that is not functioning well, and stabilize them medically and psychiatrically so we can return them to their previous environment,” said McCormick. “Its not meant to be a long term stay.” Family centered care is a touchstone at Oak Ridge. “Families are able to participate in the treatment patients receive here, said Director of Marketing Basil Joiner. “They no longer have to trek to Little Rock.” Families come up to speed on the treatment plan to help the patient transition and the continuity of care. “We have a professional staff here with courteous service,” said Joiner. “Our patients receive individual therapy, group therapy and activity therapy as well. Our doctors see our patients every single day. That’s one on one treatment not found in most facilities. That’s a unique part of our facility.” Twelve beds in a separate hall are designated for the special needs around acute psychiatric care for those 55 and older. The, brightly lit hallways and light color decor reverse any thought of stereo-typical images of a gloomy hospital setting. The squeaky clean state of the art geriatric wing features a quiet room, a common area with a television, semi-private patient rooms with on suite bathroom. Every detail was considered, especially with patient safety designs including with breathable fabric shower curtains and anti-ligature clothing hooks that release with a twenty pound load, push button sinks, ten foot ceilings, and no pinch piano styled hinges on doors. The staff at Oak Ridge welcomes walk-ins, works with referrals from community partners, offers confidential assessments, along with medication management and education.

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