UTMC Senior Behavioral Health Center set to open

June 4, 2014 | Events, News, UToday, UTMC
By Lindsay Mahaney

The University of Toledo Medical Center will hold the grand opening of its Senior Behavioral Health Center this week.

health-inviteAn open house will take place Friday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to noon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in the Kobacker Center. The center plans to accept its first patients Tuesday, June 10.

The center is a senior-based medical program that monitors the health of adult patients 55 years and older who are experiencing emotional or behavioral health issues. Partnered with Horizon Health Services, a behavioral health management company that builds, manages and improves psychiatric programs within a hospital setting, the center investigates the possible source of any health issues and diagnoses the problem.

“We want to be the gero-psych provider in the area,” said Carol Schaaf, the center’s program director. “We intend to be and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

Schaaf explained that this facility is different from other geriatric care facilities because it thoroughly tests all aspects of the patient’s condition, including prior and current health issues, medications and lifestyle choices, to fix the problem and provide a positive outcome for the patient.

“We’ll be able to tell if our patients are getting better,” Schaaf said. “We’ll be able to tell you how much better they’re getting and what symptoms are improving. We’ll be able to tell why those symptoms are improving and what we did that made it better.”

There will be 18 beds available at the center, which will accept patients 24 hours a day. Referrals can be made by anyone, including physicians, psychologists, social workers and family members. Most insurances will be accepted, Schaaf said.

“It’s not like what you see in the movies or on TV,” Schaaf said. “Any of us on any day could be in our unit. It’s just you’re having life circumstances that are a little more than you can handle today. For today, you need some help with that.”

Prior to this center, UTMC had a gero-psychiatric unit that was closed in 2008 due to changes in hospital programs.

Wendi Sorensen, the program’s nurse manager, said the new program is different because it’s designed for the comfort of the patient.

“UTMC has taken a cutting-edge approach providing health care in today’s market,” Sorensen said. “In today’s world, you want metrics, you want outcomes, you have to see sustained results, and they have contracted with Horizon because that’s what Horizon does and the outcomes are huge. That’s really what defines us differently.”

Schaaf said the hospital administration has been very supportive of the program and its start.

“Going to bat for mental health services isn’t always the popular thing to do,” she said. “There are bigger, fancier, sexier and frankly more revenue-producing things they could’ve done with their money, but they chose to do this. And they chose to do it very, very well.”

The center also is available to present free mental health educational programs in the community.

For more information, contact the center at 419.383.6161.

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