OLEAN, NY - Olean General Hospital received state approval to move forward with its plans to open a geriatric psychiatric unit on Wednesday.
The New York State Department of Health approved the request which OGH applied for in November. The plans include converting the hospital’s 15-bed swing unit into an inpatient program for patients 65 and older. The program would provide crisis stabilization, a multidimensional and diagnostic evaluation and short term treatment that typically ranges from 10-12 days.
“The development of our geropsychiatric unit is consistent with OGH’s mission of responding to the unmet healthcare needs in our region. There is no similar unit within 100 miles of Olean,” said Timothy J. Finan, president chief executive officer, Upper Allegheny Health System, OGH and Bradford Regional Medical Center.
Patients admitted to this new unit will be those requiring special care and are not appropriate for general admission. Care will include care for acute psychiatric symptoms including but not limited to, depressive disorders, bipolar and related disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, neurocognitive disorders and secondary substance use disorders. The unit will be located in a separate location from the hospital’s current behavioral health unit which treats patients 18 years and older.
There is no other distinct and separate geropsychiatric unit in the region. However, psychiatric care for the elderly is an increasingly needed service.
“The elderly often are dealing with the loss of a spouse, children moving away, declining physical function, chronic pain, and other issues that can lead to major depression,” said Vi-Anne Antrum, the chief nursing officer at OGH. She added that those types of situations can sometimes cause the elderly to become a danger to themselves or others and even lose the will to live. “Our unit will offer treatment, becoming the beacon of hope and light for people who need help.”
Funding for construction and conversion costs associated with the new unit will be funded using grant money. OGH has partnered with Signet Health which has provided geropsychiatric services since 1999. The hospital hopes to open the unit in early 2019.