After much anticipation, Salem Medical Center is preparing to unveil its new 26-bed Inpatient Psychiatric Unit.
“We’re very excited about opening our new Unit,” said Chief Executive Officer Dr. Tammy Torres. “Access to behavioral health services is a critical need for our community. Working with behavioral health experts, law enforcement and other community leaders, our Board of Trustees committed itself fully as a Board to address the Salem area’s need for additional mental health resources.
“It is also a transformational moment for all of us at Salem Medical Center,” added Dr. Torres. “This is a major step into our future. We look to add other relevant outpatient behavioral health programs, possibly partnering with major mental health providers in the Delaware Valley.
“It’s been quite a journey since we received our Certificate of Need approval in 2018 from the NJ Department of Health. Thank you all for your help and support in leading us through regulatory channels, construction challenges and numerous operational issues. I look forward to starting this new chapter with all of you.”
Krystal Sagers, MSN, MAJ, RN-BC, Director of Behavioral Health, said there’s an excited chatter about SMC’s new addition circulating throughout the area.
“The local mental health community is talking,” said Sagers, who has an extensive background in behavioral health, coming to SMC from Horizon Health where she served in multiple clinical and administrative roles. “I’ve been getting lots of calls, lots of interest from behavioral health professionals from surrounding areas.”
There are many reasons why a person may need care in an Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, said Sagers. In general, people are admitted because their symptoms are serious or unstable. They often need a setting to help forget about the distractions of life, allowing them to focus on physical and psychological healing.
The main goal of the Unit is to provide a safe, secure place where people can receive treatment to move beyond the immediate crisis.
Sagers explained that Inpatient care is the most intensive level of treatment for individuals suffering from mental health and addictive disorders. It offers 24-hour care in a safe and secure facility, making it best for patients with severe mental health or substance abuse issues who require constant monitoring.
The Unit will offer spacious patient rooms, wellness areas, and on-site consulting suites. The Unit has a lot of open, communal space. “This promotes interaction between patients and staff, creates areas for group meetings, and generally supports therapeutic goals,” Sagers said.
Patients often eat meals together in a dining room. Privacy and a calm, low-stress environment are very helpful in an behavioral health unit.
The Unit will have a fully supported, interdisciplinary treatment team including representation from psychiatry, nursing, mental health therapists, rehabilitation therapists, social work, and case management.
Sagers said the staff will be qualified to offer specialized clinical care in acute mood and anxiety disorders, co-occurring psychiatric/substance use disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other mental health disorders.
“The Unit will embody the latest in program delivery and newest mental health care practices,” she said. “We are committed to helping patients with mental illness integrate and thrive in society. Our focus will be on recovery not simply medicating and boarding patients.
The Inpatient Psychiatric Unit is projected to open by June, 2020.