ST MARYS — Grand Lake Health System is opening a new geriatric psychiatric center at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital this month, bringing a much-needed service closer to St. Marys.
Jody Shaw, The Clear Passage Geriatric Psychiatric Center’s nurse manager said the closest facility like theirs is over an hour away.
The Clear Passage Geriatric Psychiatric Center is a live in care facility with 12 private rooms where people 55 and up can receive care for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and psychiatric conditions, said Shaw.
The center will have a full-time social worker on staff to help patients learn coping skills to deal with their illness. The social worker will also hold ground therapy sessions and different therapy practices like music therapy and pet therapy, Shaw said.
A full time recreational therapist will also be on staff to handle the physical side of patient therapy, such as exercise, crafts and other active work, she said.
“Our patients have a very structured day,” Shaw said. “We encourage family members to come and participate in therapy.”
At least two registered nurses will be on staff 24 hours a day, said Tommy Williamson, Clear Passage Community Education Manager. Two psychiatric doctors, Dr. Amarjeet Birdi and Dr. Amita Patel, will work individually with each patient throughout each day make certain they are meeting their personal treatment goals.
The Clear Passage floor is a rectangle large enough for patients to walk around for exercise. Twelve rooms with individual bathrooms and showers circle the floor, each one built with patient safety in mind, Williamson said. There is a laundry room where nurses will do patient laundry or patients with laundry privileges will do their own.
There is a meeting room where staff will meet first thing to discuss patient care and meet with the patients themselves, Williamson said.
There is a quiet activity room where patients can do crafts and other quiet activities and where patients who get nervous or jumpy throughout the day and evening can go to relax, Shaw said. A larger room is both the loud activity room where musical therapy and exercising will be done, as well as group meals, she said.
Placed strategically around the facility are photographs taken by locals. The photographs help patients stay connected to the outside world and they act as a jolt to patient memory.
“If a patient forgets where their room is, we can just tell them, ‘Remember, your room is in the winter wing,’” Shaw said.
“We are very excited about providing this care to the community,” Birdi said. “You need a lot of passion to care for these folks.”
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362