LewisGale's Victor Giovanetti: Unit "will focus on meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens"
LewisGale Regional Health System will soon add a Geriatric Psychiatry Unit at LewisGale Hospital at Alleghany to meet the growing demand for inpatient mental health services specifically designed to meet the unique psychiatric needs of seniors.
“We strategically chose Alleghany as the site for our Geriatric Psychiatry Unit because of its rapidly growing senior population,” said Victor E. Giovanetti, President, LewisGale Regional Health System. “This specialized unit will focus on meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens and ensure they have the best health outcomes.”
Giovanetti anticipates patients will come from all over Southwest Virginia to receive this specialized care. The 15-bed unit will focus on treating patients 65 and older who are dealing with a mental health challenge that requires immediate intensive therapy to help them return to their previous level of functioning. The average length of stay will be 11 days.
“Our goal is to stabilize the patient and help them get back home or to their original care setting such as a nursing home or assisted living facility,” said Paula Mitchell, Vice President, Behavioral Health Services. “Seniors often have more complicated health problems that require a team approach to deal with both their psychological issues and medical conditions at the same time, and that’s what this new unit will provide.”
The new service will also bring new jobs to the area. The hospital plans to hire an additional 25 to 30 full-time employees once the unit is fully operational. “We are excited to bring this new service to Alleghany to meet an important community need while at the same time benefitting our local economy through the creation of new jobs,” said Greg Madsen, CEO, LewisGale Hospital at Alleghany.
Construction will soon begin to renovate the fifth floor of the hospital, the new home for Geriatric Psychiatry Unit. The project will cost more than $1.43 million dollars. The Geriatric Psychiatry Unit is scheduled to open in September, 2011.