Bozeman Well being including emergency behavioral well being rooms | Well being

As the number of patients with mental health needs continues to grow, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital is adding two rooms dedicated to patients with behavioral disorders in an emergency.

A lack of mental health and substance abuse services was identified in two recent community health needs assessments that Bozeman Health conducts every three years to see where their services could improve. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already pressing problem, said Maureen Womack, behavioral health systems director at Bozeman Health.

Womack said they need to prepare as mental health needs are expected to rise even after the pandemic has subsided.

“We have to plan what is going to happen, but then we also know that the biggest emergencies and behavior disorders will happen around nine months after the pandemic,” Womack said. “So we wanted to make sure we had the infrastructure to really handle the effects of this pandemic in a year or two.”

The city of Bozeman provided over $ 300,000 to the Bozeman Health Foundation as part of its CARES Act pandemic relief for the rooms, which according to Jason Smith, chief advancement officer, will cost $ 650,000 over a two-year period.

The new area will include an evaluation room and two observation rooms.

After staff have ruled out any medical problems that may arise, patients are stabilized in the behavioral health rooms. Doing this by “working with the patient” and empowering them is key, Womack said.

Patients can also speak to a “peer specialist” who has been through similar situations to help.

Bozeman Health is adding a trained advanced nurse and a licensed psychiatrist position to support its patients. Staff then work on a treatment plan, which may include medication to hold until their next appointment or hold for treatment.

“Our goal is to really stabilize the crisis and take it to the next level of care,” said Womack. “To me there are really meaningful outcomes that are really important, especially if you are a family member or a patient, to be better cared for and stay in your community. It’s less compulsive; It’s not as scary as going to an inpatient hospital. “

The rooms and additional staff will create a “mini fast lane for psychiatric patients” within the hospital, Womack said.

The two rooms need a complete renovation, Womack said, in order to remove any risks associated with mentally ill patients. Instead of the traditional trolleys seen in most emergency rooms, the behavioral health rooms will have loungers, Womack said.

Paige Bichler, nurse manager of the emergency room at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, said a dedicated area for behavioral patients away from the typical hustle and bustle of the emergency room will help create a more therapeutic environment for health issues.

“When you spend time in the emergency room and you’ve done this as a traditional emergency patient, you learn that speed and urgency really matters and that there is a level of energy and activity that is often just the opposite of what you want it to be or need someone in a behavioral crisis, ”said Smith. “So treating these patients with the same urgency in a space that offers the opportunity to experience tranquility is a really important way of meeting their needs.”

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