Ribbon-cutting set for new psychiatric unit at MRHC

Ribbon-cutting set for new psychiatric unit at MRHC


McAlester Regional Health Center will host an Open House and Ribbon-cutting Ceremony on Tuesday, May 16, for its new Life Bridge Geriatric Psychiatric Unit.


The new Life Bridge Geriatric Psychiatric Unit is scheduled to open June 15 and will provide 14 beds for specialized inpatient treatment of behavioral health issues for adults age 60 and older.  


“With this new service line, we will offer treatment for issues such as depression, emotional disorders and other behavioral issues and cognitive impairment,” said MRHC Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer Kim Stout, RN, MSN, CPHRM. “The Life Bridge program is committed to providing person-centered care and comprehensive therapy that understands the uniqueness of aging.”


MRHC Director of Geropsychiatry Curt Rawls said a multi-disciplinary team that includes a psychiatrist, a psychiatric social worker, nurses, and an activity therapist will deliver patient care at Life Bridge.


“We have hired about 10 new people for this new unit, and we are in the process of hiring more,” he said.


In addition to MRHC training and orientation, new Life Bridge employees will complete specialized training before the facility opens to accept patients. Medical Director John Hennessee, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, joins Rawls and MRHC Nurse Manager Dalina McGee, BSN, RN, as leadership team members for Life Bridge.


The unit is on the first floor of the main hospital building in the west wing. Construction began in November, while planning and design began in September 2015.


Elderly people with mental health needs represent one of the largest underserved medical populations in the area.


 “We have found that our elderly population will increase by 8.1% between 2014 and 2019,” said Stout, MRHC CNO/COO. “That means that older adults – those 55 and older – will make up 42.8% of our total adult population within 2 years.”


At the same time, she said that on any given day, about 30 patients in the region need partial hospitalization or other therapy-oriented services. In 2014, there were 1,540 adults in less than three counties (Pittsburg, Hughes and half of McIntosh county) needing acute psychiatric intervention.


“We will offer specialized inpatient care for older adults,” said Nurse Manager McGee. “Patients will receive individualized comprehensive care that will include a team lead by a psychiatrist and including nurses, social workers, activity therapists, dieticians, psychologists and a medical physician.”


The team will also assist families as patients are discharged from the program.


“This is a huge need for our community’s elderly population,” said MRHC CEO David Keith. “As a regional healthcare destination, it is vital that MRHC provide the best care, close to home, for those elderly patients who need help with mental health conditions.”