South Florida Hospital News
Friday May 29, 2020

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January 2010 - Volume 6 - Issue 7



Haven Behavioral Healthcare Provides Solutions to Hospital Partners

With the Baby Boomer generation entering their senior years, older adults in the U.S. are the fastest-growing segment of the population. Meeting the myriad and rapidly growing medical, social and practical needs of this vulnerable group is a challenge for all of society, particularly for the healthcare industry and social service agencies. This is not news in South Florida, which leads the nation in the number of elderly residents and has a substantial head start on providing them with services and programs to help them navigate the often rough waters of aging and maintain the highest possible quality of life.

Now, South Florida hospitals have an opportunity to care for the regionís older adults in an innovative way: by partnering with a growing, reputable provider to offer high quality, professional behavioral healthcare in an arrangement that adds a valuable clinical service to their programs. Haven Behavioral Healthcare provides geriatric psychiatry care within established hospitals and other healthcare facilities, seamlessly integrating their operations and services into the host facility in a mutually beneficial partnership. Partnering with Haven enables the host hospital to offer an essential specialty service that meets a community need while generating a new revenue stream.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Haven Behavioral Healthcare was launched in 2006 by Vern Westrich and has developed geriatric psychiatry units in hospitals across the nation. Havenís "hospital within a hospital" concept provides a comprehensive service that specializes in the treatment of behavioral issues associated with the elderly population, including depression and anxiety, substance abuse and misuse, and Alzheimerís disease and other forms of dementia. Staffed by a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, nurses, therapists, discharge planners and other professionals, Havenís geropsychiatric units range in size from 20 to 40 inpatient beds and provide a safe, secure therapeutic environment. Each patient receives a thorough diagnostic examination and assessment that identifies their needs as the basis of an individualized treatment plan. "In Florida, thereís a shortage of inpatient behavioral beds that treat the elderly and a growing need for geropsychiatric service. Nationally, there has been a reduction in psychiatric beds and as a result, older adult patients are often treated with other patients who are much younger and have substantially different treatment needs," says Dwight Willingham, Vice President for Development for Haven. "Hospitals that have identified a need for geropsychiatric service and anticipate starting a unit are potential partners. The way it works is that Haven leases the space and contracts for services such as dietary, linen, housekeeping and maintenance. We procure our own CMS, Tax, and State License numbers, provide capital improvements and insure our clinical program operates in accordance with the facilityís high standards."

Mental health issues are common among older adults and the incidence is expected to increase in the next few decades. According to the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 1 in 5 adults over the age of 55 will experience some form of emotional or mental health problem. Aging involves numerous losses and transitions: the death of a spouse or close friend; chronic illness and/or pain; motor or sensory disabilities and changes in health, socialization and functioning. Any of these can trigger depression and anxiety. Older adults may also develop late-life substance abuse, misuse, or addiction problems as they attempt to cope with life changes, and others will develop memory problems and dementia.

Older adults who are experiencing behavioral health challenges have an excellent potential for improving significantly with appropriate treatment, when they receive specialized care from professionals who have expertise in treating their unique problems. "Haven Behavioral Healthcare provides the highest quality mental health care for older adults," says Willingham. "We are a results-driven, quality-conscious organization with a passion for what we do. Geriatric psychiatry is a specialty within a specialty. We believe that older adults facing behavioral health problems should be treated in a specialized, focused setting, among their peers, so that they feel more comfortable and receive care from professionals who have expert-level competence and experience in meeting their unique needs."

Havenís geropsychiatric units operate at near capacity and provide clinically excellent care. They have received consistently high patient satisfaction ratings. Hospitals that are seeking to develop geropsychiatric services can change their own futures and that of their communities through a partnership with Haven Behavioral Healthcare.

For more information, visit Dwight Willingham can be reached at (615) 250-9171 or
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