Mercy Health announces that Urbana Hospital’s inpatient senior behavioral health unit is marking its six-month milestone by growing its care team and celebrating successful Joint Commission and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (ODMHAS) surveys.

Since accepting its first patient in November 2018, the 10-bed unit, which cares for older adults experiencing an acute mental health crisis, has cared for more than 60 patients.

The unit is staffed by a nurse practitioner and a psychiatrist whom Urbana Hospital staff voted as doctor of the year because of the way he cares for patients and staff. The unit has recently grown by adding three staff members to the team.

“If you are caring for an elderly parent or loved one, you need to know you are not alone,” said Jamie Houseman, President, Mercy Health Urbana Hospital. “Our team works together with patients and their families to understand what is driving changes in behavior to determine the best course of care.” 

Signs and symptoms that a loved one may be experiencing an emotional illness include:

  • Insomnia or too much sleep 
  • Crying spells
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sad or blank looks
  • Disregard for personal appearance
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Forgetfulness or confusion
  • Social isolation

“These symptoms are not normal at any age and should be considered an illness in the elderly. Depression and many other emotional illnesses in older people are treatable, especially if dealt with early,” said Houseman.

“We serve a unique patient population of older adults with a variety of conditions, including progression of chronic psychiatric illnesses such as depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, along with co-existing neuro-degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s-related dementia, dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies,” said Jonathan Lazzara, DO, Medical Director, Psychiatry, Mercy Health - Urbana Hospital.

The Senior Behavioral Health Services team, which is made up of behavioral health professionals including nurses, psychiatrists, trained counselors and social workers, evaluates each patient thoroughly to develop a course of treatment. Treatment options include individual meetings with psychiatrists, group therapy with older adults struggling with similar problems and educational programs.

In addition to improving the patient’s outlook on life, therapy also helps individuals to better care for themselves and follow their primary care provider’s directions, particularly about taking medications. 

Mercy Health anticipates that the unit will treat approximately 200 patients annually.

The Joint Commission conducts rigorous on-site reviews to determine an organization’s commitment to providing high quality, safe and effective patient care. Surveyors who visited the unit recently noted that it is designed well and is light, airy and open, as well as safe, functional and very clean. 

All private hospitals offering acute inpatient mental health services require licensure from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. The OhioMHAS surveyor noted that patients of the senior behavioral health unit at Urbana Hospital are neat, clean and well cared for by the staff. She added that the unit is spacious and clean, exudes calm and is aesthetically pleasing. 

Urbana Hospital’s Senior Behavioral Health Services unit offers expert care close to home in a warm and supportive atmosphere. Urbana Hospital built the $1.5 million unit as part of a $3 million facility renovation and service expansion project. For more information or to schedule a consultation for senior behavioral health services, please call 937-484-6211.